Seoul-Beijing 2+2 Talks to Take Place Tuesday

Amid speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Pyongyang on Tuesday, Seoul and Beijing will hold the "two plus two" talks of their senior foreign and defense officials on the day.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday that the 'Korea-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue' will be held Tuesday in Seoul, led by first vice foreign minister Kim Hong-kyun and Chinese vice foreign minister Sun Weidong.

During defense talks, Lee Seung-beom, director general for international policy at the Ministry of Defense will hold talks with Zhang Baoqun, the deputy chief of the International Military Cooperation Office.

The foreign ministry explained that the two countries will exchange opinions on issues of mutual interest, such as bilateral relations, Korean Peninsula issues, and regional and international issues.

The two plus two talks were agreed upon during the bilateral meeting between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of the Seoul-Tokyo-Beijing trilateral summit held last month.

Cambodia, Turkey make joint efforts to strengthen bilateral ties

Khuon Phon Rattanak, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, received Ülkü Kocaefe, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the Kingdom of Cambodia, on June 14, 2024, at the Ministry.

The Secretary of State and the Ambassador expressed their deep satisfaction with the fruitful outcomes of the official visit of Sok Chenda Sophea, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to Turkey from May 28–29, 2024.

The meeting reviewed and followed up on progress made on key initiatives discussed during the Deputy Prime Minister’s visit.

Both sides also expressed their strong commitment to not only continue these efforts but also explore new areas of cooperation.

Yoon to Make State Visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan From June 10-15

President Yoon Suk Yeol will pay state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan next week. 

According to Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Tae-hyo on Friday, Yoon will embark on the six-day visit on Monday, accompanied by First Lady Kim Keon-hee from June 10 to 15.

Kim emphasized that Central Asia, which was the center of the Silk Road, is a strategic point that connects Europe and Asia, adding that the strategic importance is growing further amid the  global polycrisis that includes the war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East.

The top office also announced that South Korea, along with the five Central Asian countries, agreed to set up a summit and hold the first meeting at the South Korean National Assembly next year.

The announcement comes as the government also decided to promote the 'Korea-Central Asia K-Silk Road' strategy to strengthen regional economic exchanges, including cooperation in supply chains with the Central Asian nations.

What is next for Cambodia-US Relations after the visit of Lloyd Austin?

The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin came to visit Cambodia on June 4, 2024, after his visit to Singapore to participate in the Shangri-La Dialogue which is the world-famous forum inviting leaders from around the world to participate and address issues that are happening in their countries as well as in the world.

The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Cambodia caused different expectations and different interpretations among Cambodian scholars as well as Cambodian politicians. Cambodian people who believe that the US will still be the only main market for Cambodia to export products of Cambodia deem that it is very important to welcome the visit of the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to discuss on important topics that are beneficial for Cambodia and the US, whereas people who believe that the US will come to Cambodia just for their own benefits think that Lloyd Austin came to Cambodia to ask about topics that are not related to Cambodia since the US officials who came to Cambodia always raised questions that are not related to Cambodia and the US but Cambodia-China Relations or about Chinese military in Cambodia.

US officials who come to visit Cambodia should only raise questions that are personally related to Cambodia-US relations because each visit and each meeting always lasts a few hours, so that talking on the related topics that are crucial for Cambodia and US are pretty important for both countries.

Cambodia and the US had established diplomatic ties on July 11, 1950, the relations of both countries always go-up-and-down. There are different interpretations between politicians in Cambodia and politicians in the US. Some of Cambodian politicians think that the US is the only country that led Cambodia to face challenges and created tragedies for Cambodia and then asked Cambodia to pay money which the US spent to buy weapons to kill Cambodian citizens. The US side thinks that Cambodia is just a small country which has a very close relations with China and never wants to have a good relation with the US.

The former prime minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, in 2022 said during the US-ASEAN Summit in 2022 that “Why is it so difficult for me if I just want to be a good ally of the US”? It means that Cambodia also wants to be friend with the US and other countries, not only China.

Both the US and Cambodia think differently from each other, and most of the time they do not have enough discussion with each other but let media and other countries to incite the relations of both countries. The US expects too much from Cambodia, the US always expects all the good things from Cambodia such as full human rights respect, one hundred percent democracy, and all good things which the US themselves could not make.

Cambodia always wants the US to listen to its concerns and understand challenges as well as requirements for the social development in Cambodia. Cambodia is a small country which maintains good relations with many countries in the world including Australia, the US, South Korea, Japan, China, and ASEAN countries but Cambodia is always treated as a China client-state due to some countries being worried too much about China and then try to find ways to hit a small country like Cambodia.

There are many unfair things that take place for Cambodia but Cambodia could not explain its real situation to the world since this small country did not invest enough on human resources, especially did not support scholars who are able to talk about the real situations of Cambodia to the world. Cambodia should adjust its nomination system and should encourage more qualified officials to work in the right places. Especially, the Cambodian government should encourage Cambodian scholars to be able to depict real situations to the outside world, not only talking among Cambodian people but the outside world too.

Some people may do not like it but it is real: the US is one of the great partners for Cambodia which the Government should have closer relations with since the US is still the main market for Cambodia to sell products, and the US has a lot of important technologies which can help Cambodia improve social development and human resources. The US can help Cambodia to maintain its relations with other countries, so that Cambodia should learn from the history when there is a wrong decision in foreign policy, and when Cambodia cut off diplomatic relations with the US on May 3, 1965.

There are a lot of hopes and optimism from the Cambodian side after the visit of Lloyd Austin since both sides had agreed on important issues such as military cooperation and resumption of scholarship for Cambodian students to study in the military section in the US.

All in all, both Cambodia and the US should talk face to face with each other and should just talk on the topics that are personally related to Cambodia and US since one of the disturbing topics for the relations between Cambodia-US in the past is that there are always questions about China-Cambodia Relations and about Chinese military in Cambodia. The US should understand the requirements of Cambodia and then invest on that requirement rather than interrogation but nothing for Cambodia. At this time Cambodia needs both lecture and also the gift because Cambodia is a developing country which still needs to develop in many fields. Both Cambodia and the US should listen to understand and go back to the drawing board when they first established the diplomatic ties during the tough time for Cambodia in 1950.

Dr. Seun Sam is a policy analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. All views in this article are his own.

Macron is Hosting Biden for a State Visit as the Two Leaders Try to Move Past Trade Tensions

PARIS (AP) — President Joe Biden is being feted by French President Emmanuel Macron with a state visit Saturday, as the two allies aim to show off their partnership on global security issues and move past trade tensions.

Biden and Macron attended ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday. They met separately the following day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris — engagements they both used to underscore the urgent need to support Kyiv’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

But Macron and Biden have often chafed at the pace of support for Ukraine, especially as the U.S. — by far the largest contributor to Kyiv’s defense — was forced to pause aid shipments for months while congressional Republicans held up an assistance package.

The state visit will begin with a welcome ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe and a military parade along the Champs-Élysées leading to the Élysée Palace, where the two will hold official meetings and deliver public statements. Later, Macron will host a state dinner at the palace for Biden and his wife, Jill.

Biden hosted Macron in December 2022 at the White House for the first state visit of his presidency — a glamorous affair that included business and political figures after the COVID-19 pandemic.

First lady Jill Biden will join her husband for the Saturday events, returning to France aboard a government plane after spending Friday in Delaware to support their son, Hunter Biden, who is standing trial on federal gun charges.

Biden’s trip to France also comes ahead of Sunday’s European Parliament election, in which the far right is likely to emerge as one of the biggest winners while Macron’s pro-EU movement is flagging.

A top French official said Macron and Biden have a friendly and warm relationship and stressed that the U.S. president is spending five days in France, reflecting the importance he attaches to the visit. The official spoke anonymously, in line with customary practices for Macron’s office.

The official said the U.S. presidential campaign was not a factor in the discussion.

Macron previously hosted then-President Donald Trump, the Republicans’ presumptive 2024 nominee, in France for Bastille Day in 2017, before being hosted himself by Trump in 2018 for a state visit, before the two leaders’ relationship soured.

Both U.S. and French officials said Ukraine would be at the top of Saturday’s agenda, but the centerpiece of the weekend event would be the strength of the alliance, proven at Normandy 80 years ago, but with roots far deeper.

“It’s probably a good thing for us to remember that we didn’t win our independence either without some foreign help or foreign assistance, specifically from France,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

Max Bergmann, a former U.S. State Department official who leads Europe research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the relationship between the two countries is strong despite occasional disagreements.

“There’s always tension in Franco-American relations, because the French try to do stuff,” he said. “They’re bold, they throw up proposals, and that leads to some friction when we push back.”

For example, he said, France proposed putting Western trainers on the ground in Ukraine, leading to questions of whether this is “really giving Ukraine a major, tangible benefit” or has the “potential to be escalatory and dangerous.”

Regarding Macron, Bergmann said, “he’s the one that pushes the boundaries and throws up ideas.”

Kirby said the two leaders would have an announcement Saturday on deepening maritime law enforcement cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. They also are to discuss economic and climate challenges.

While praising the Biden administration’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, Macron said earlier this year that Europe must become “capable of defending its interests, with its allies by our side whenever they are willing, and alone if necessary,” arguing the continent should rely less on the U.S. for its own defense.

He also warned Western powers against showing any signs of weakness to Russia as he repeatedly said that sending Western troops into Ukraine to shore up its defense shouldn’t be ruled out.

The two leaders were also set to discuss their efforts to bring about a cease-fire to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, as the U.S. and Israel await Hamas’ response to a Biden-promoted ceasefire proposal that would allow a surge of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

“The president will update President Macron on all of that. And again, eagerly await his perspectives and his views as well on what’s going on in Gaza,” Kirby said.

Macron is expected to raise U.S. trade practices that he has often criticized, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which favors American-made climate technology, like electric vehicles. Macron said the U.S., like China, has “decided not to respect the rules of global trade” by shoring up protections and subsidies while Europe’s industry remains open and is stuck in overregulation.

The French top official said Europe has to defend European interests, after watching the U.S. do the same with its own, but said Macron hopes to find a mutually acceptable outcome.

Gary Hufbauer, nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said trade with China is a sticking point between the U.S. and Europe, particularly France. The U.S. has been more eager to restrict trade, particularly regarding technology.

Biden is also moving toward tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and batteries, which could affect European cars that include Chinese parts.

The fear is that “if you’ve got some component from China, we don’t want you in the U.S.”

“That’s a big worry in Europe.”

Overall, Hufbauer said, “Europe wants to maintain much more trade with China than the U.S. wants.”

Prime Minister Orders Defense Chief to Prepare Measures to Prevent Trainee Soldier Deaths

In response to the recent death of a trainee soldier following a discipline session last week, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo ordered the nation’s defense chief to prepare measures to prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy.

The prime minister's office reported on Wednesday that Han met separately with defense minister Shin Won-sik before an extraordinary cabinet meeting at the Seoul Government Complex.

During the meeting, the prime minister said it's the country's responsibility to do its best to ensure trainee soldiers don’t make any “unnecessary sacrifices.”

Han also called on the defense chief to check whether there are any unreasonable practices or systems implemented in the military.

He also instructed the defense ministry to conduct preemptive safety inspections of military training facilities and living spaces and to report whether there are any shortcomings in the soldiers' living conditions.

Turkey offers scholarships to Cambodian police officers to become successor teachers

Touch Visal Sok, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, represented Dr. Sar Sokha, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Bun Hoon, Secretary of State, and Ou Vanna, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, paid an official visit to the Republic of Turkey from May 25 to 31, 2024.

As of May 28, 2024, the delegation of the Ministry of Interior of Cambodia met with the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior, met with the leaders of the Special Operations Police Department, and met with the leaders of the Police Academy of the Republic of Turkey.

As a result, Turkey decided to offer Cambodia the following:

1. Turkey offers eight scholarships a year to Cambodian police officers to become successor teachers.

2. Turkey participates in joint training programme development (2 + 2).

3. Turkey helps the Cambodian Police Academy improve its curriculum.

4. Turkey sends experts to help set up laboratories and research in Cambodia.

Cambodia calls for ASEAN, int’l cooperation on cybercrime

Cambodia, through the Ministry of Interior, has called for enhanced cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and the international community to share information to combat cybercrime more effectively.

General Por Pheak, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday, “Cambodia wants good cooperation with ASEAN countries and (others) in the world to exchange information and ensure confidentiality in cybercrime proceedings.”

“We want to see state parties who have high-level skills and technology in the fight against cybercrime share those skills or provide training for (members) that are developing their technological capabilities to meet current needs,” he said.

Gen Pheak made the call during the Global Roundtable on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Security Capacity-Building at United Nations Headquarters in New York, US on Friday.

He said the meeting allowed representatives of each participating country to share their experiences in fighting cybercrime.

Cambodia has shared security strategies and skills in the fight against online threats, which the government is paying close attention to in order to ensure security, order, stability, and cybersecurity in society, he added.

Gen Pheak noted that as the digital landscape evolves, it is increasingly important and urgent that capacity-building efforts are accelerated to ensure that all states can safely and securely seize the benefits of digital technologies.

It is also vital that the international community come together to encourage and assist one another by sharing success stories and integrating lessons learned into future development programmes, he added.

Meanwhile, Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore, who attended the meeting on Friday, said that the world is more reliant on digital technologies and cyberspace than ever before.

In the face of fast-evolving digital threats, it is timely that the international community gathered to discuss the important issue of cyber capacity building, she said.

Teo added that it should take a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach, as cybersecurity is a cross-cutting domain.

Diverse expertise across the policy, legal, and diplomatic domains is also required to understand and manage cybersecurity at the national level, she added.

Teo said these efforts are key to strengthening the collective resilience in cyberspace to secure the digital way of life for a sustainable future.

Indonesia, Cambodia aim to modernise, digitalize, and enhance the capacity of the civil service

The Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia Santo Darmosumarto, and Cambodian Minister of Civil Service Hun Many, met on 8 May 2024, to discuss potential cooperation in strengthening both countries’ civil services.

Views were exchanged on the challenges and opportunities faced by each government in pushing for sustained bureaucratic reform and the modernization of public institutions and services. In Cambodia’s case, this included, among others, the centralized recruitment of civil servants as well as efforts to improve the welfare and capacity of civil servants.

“Indonesia is also vigorously modernizing and creating digital public service portals through the e-government program. Hopefully, our countries can collaborate given our many social, political, and cultural similarities,” expressed Ambassador Santo. He added that bureaucratic reforms also benefit the public as a whole, as it serves as a basis for changing the way people in general think about their daily activities.

Ambassador Santo highlighted Indonesia’s continued commitment to assist in the development of Cambodian civil service, among others, by providing scholarships such as the Indonesian Aid Scholarship (TIAS), which is strictly aimed at civil servants. “I sincerely hope that more Indonesian alumni will hold important positions in the Cambodian government”, he added.

The meeting also discussed on the importance of enhancing youth cooperation as part strengthening bilateral partnership in the years to come. In the spirit of commemorating 65 years of diplomatic relations, the Indonesian Embassy looks forward to supporting concrete cooperation programs among youth groups in Indonesia and Cambodia. Fresh News

Hun Sen urges Qatar to open permanent embassy in Cambodia

Cambodian Senate President Hun Sen has urged Qatar to open a permanent embassy in Cambodia with the resumption of Qatar Airline flights.

He made this statement on May 8 on the occasion of allowing Khalid Ali Abdullah Abel, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Cambodia, to pay a courtesy call at the Senate in Phnom Penh.

During the meeting, Hun Sen frankly stated that Qatar, a rich country, should open its own embassy in Cambodia rather than have a residence in another country. He reminded that when he was the Prime Minister, he did not have enough time to receive ambassadors with residences abroad, as this was a special case.

Cambodia-Qatar diplomatic relations began in 2008 when the Prime Minister of Qatar paid a royal visit to Cambodia.

He added that Qatar should resume Qatar Airline flights after being disrupted by COVID-19 in the past to allow people-to-people contacts, as well as bringing visitors from the Middle East and Europe to Cambodia and also bringing visitors from Cambodia and ASEAN to Qatar.

Ambassador Khalid Ali Abdullah Abel stated that the reason he came here was to reap the benefits of the two countries, promising to work hard to attract investors from Qatar to Cambodia as well as bring investors from Cambodia to Qatar to explore the possibility of investment cooperation.

The Ambassador stated that “Qatar has the potential to invest in energy, oil and gas, infrastructure, hospital construction, airports, and more, and Qatar is reviewing the resumption of Qatar Airline, citing the favourable conditions for Qatar tourists to travel to other destinations.”

Hun Sen said that the relationship between the two countries depends on economic ties; as long as the economic ties are strong, the political ties are strong. He urges to look at the possibility between the two countries: 1) To give investors confidence, it is necessary to have an investment protection agreement; 2). to have a non-overlapping tax agreement; and even better, if possible, to establish a Free Trade Zone Agreement, as Cambodia has done with China, Korea, and Saudi Arabia.