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Thursday, March 01, 2007

KAL launches flight to Cambodia


By Bae Ji-Sook
Staff reporter


Korean Air celebrated the opening of its two new air routes linking Cambodia Wednesday.
The two routes, between Inchon and Phnom Penh, and between Inchon and Siem Reap, have already been in operation since last November. The airline company held an official ceremony in Phnom Penh to celebrate its entering the ``Baht Economy'' that covers Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam as well as Thailand.

Korean Air Chairman and CEO Cho Yang-ho, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An,
Chang Jae-ku, chairman of The Korea Times and its sister paper Hankook Ilbo, and 200 other guests attended the ceremony.

Cho said that the company is going all-out to become one of the 10 largest airlines in the world. He said that Cambodia is a country with large potential and will be the bridgehead to the East Asian market.

``Traditionally, Korean Air has focused on Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, but it is moving to East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos,'' he said.

Currently, Southeast Asia takes the second largest portion in the number of passengers for the company after Japan.

Cho with a strong will to develop new market has been focusing on the Southeast Asian market and he himself visited the spot to encourage the business. This is the second time the CEO has attended the service-launching ceremony abroad, following an opening event in Shanghai in 2005.

Korean Air, which was established in 1969 as a state-run enterprise, started its business with eight old propeller driven planes. After 37 years, the company has grown into a large airline company with more than 122 state-of-the-art aircraft that fly to 109 cities in 36 countries.

In 2005 the International Air Transport Association named it as the plane company loading the most cargo in world.

Korean Air operates the Inchon-Phnom Penh route every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and the route linking Siem Reap, famous for Angkor Wat, everyday.
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Cambodia expects trade with Vietnam to grow by 27 percent

The annual trade volume between Vietnam and Cambodia is expected to grow by 27 percent per year to reach 2.45 billion U.S. dollars by 2010, Cambodian official said here on Wednesday.

"There will be significant rise upon the 940 million U.S. dollars strong (of bilateral trade volume) in 2006, which has placed Vietnam as our fourth biggest trade partner," said Kith Meng, president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, on the sideline of the one-day Cambodia-Vietnam Business Forum.

"I believe today that we have the opportunity to take one step further and actually develop stronger ties that will in fact see Cambodia and Vietnam build significantly more paths of friendship between our two great countries, so grass will never grow as our trading paths blossom," he told more than 100 participants of the forum, which was also attended by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and visiting Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet.

"We must find ways to enhance the inter-connectivity, boost investor confidence and open up more economic sectors that can operate seamlessly across our economy," he added.

Also addressing the forum, Kam Si Than, Acting Minister of Commerce, said that in 2006, Cambodia imported from Vietnam about 780 million U.S. dollars worth of commodities, mainly
including clothes, cable, household plastic products, noodles, electronic spare parts and others.
This was an increase of about 244 million U.S. dollars over 2005, he said.

Meanwhile, he said, in the same year, Cambodia exported to Vietnam around 170 million U.S. dollars worth of products, including rubber, forestry, raw resources for clothes products, tobacco leaves, wooden products and others.

This was an increase of about 13 million U.S. dollars over 2005, he said. He noted Cambodia's adverse balance of trade with Vietnam and encouraged Vietnamese investors to pour more money into the kingdom.

Source: Xinhua

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Cambodia: Bring Killers of Trade Unionist to justice

Source: Human Right Watch

(London, February 27, 2007) � The Cambodian government must ensure that the killing of trade unionist Hy Vuthy is thoroughly and independently investigated and that all persons responsible are brought to justice in accordance with international standards of fairness, a group of leading human rights and trade union organizations said today.

The organizations include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights/FIDH and the World Organisation against Torture/OMCT).

On February 24, Hy Vuthy, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) at the Suntex garment factory, was shot dead while riding his motorbike home after finishing his night shift at the Suntex factory in Phnom Penh's Dangkao district. The murder, which took place one kilometer from the factory, was reportedly committed by two men on a motorbike.

Hy Vuthy is the third FTUWKC official to be killed in three years. Chea Vichea, the union's President, was shot dead in January 2004. In May 2004, Ros Sovannareth, the FTUWKC President at the Trinunggal Komara factory, was murdered.

The killing of Hy Vuthy is the latest in a string of attacks and assassinations of union activists in Cambodia. During 2006 there were several violent attacks against FTUWKC officials at Suntex and the neighboring Bright Sky factory. Throughout the year, FTU representatives at the two factories, which have the same owner, lobbied for improvements in employment conditions, particularly relating to contract periods.

In May the union's vice-president at Suntex, Chey Rithy, was attacked while he was riding home from work. The same month, Chi Samon, FTU president of the Bright Sky factory, was attacked by seven men, allegedly including a member of a rival trade union. He was hit several times in the face and on his body with sticks and iron bars. Still in May, Yeng Vann Yuth, active member of FTU of the Bright Sky factory, was attacked as well. In June, Lem Samrith, FTU treasurer of the Bright Sky factory, was beaten by about 20 men as he was coming out of the factory after a night shift. In July, Lay Chamroeun, FTU vice-president of Suntex factory, was attacked by six young men on motorbikes as he was leaving work. In September, Choy Chin, the union secretary-general at Suntex, was beaten on the head by two men armed with a metal pipe. In October, Em Chhay Tieng, FTU vice-president of the Bright Sky factory, was hit in the face and threatened with arrest during a strike in the factory.

Such a pattern of violence is extremely likely to have a chilling effect on the members and leaders of FTUWKC and other union activists throughout Cambodia. It results in the stifling of trade union activities among workers. Cambodia is a party to all major International Labour Organisation conventions, notably those relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining. It is also a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both provide for the right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his or her choice as well as the right of trade unions to function freely. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998 also enshrines "the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights".

Prosecuting those responsible for Hy Vuthy's killing is the only way to give a clear signal to the perpetrators of acts of violence against trade unionists that such behaviour will not be tolerated in the future. The Cambodian government must put an end to the prevailing climate of impunity.

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Japan donated 1.7million U.S aid food in Cambodia

Here is the beginning of my postThe Japanese government has decided to donate 210 million yen (about 1.7 million U.S. dollars) food aid to Cambodia through the World Food Program (WFP), a press release said on Wednesday.

The food aid will be allocated to Cambodia for vulnerable groups, such as HIV/AIDS patients, tuberculosis patients, primary school children and those who are suffering from chronic food shortage caused by poverty, the press release from the Japanese Embassy to Cambodia said.

And here is the rest of itThe Japanese government has decided to extend food aid totaling 2,520 million yen (about 20.4 million U.S. dollars) through the WFP to support chronically food-insecure people in 13 countries, including the Kingdom of Cambodia, the press release said.

Notes to this effect were exchanged in Rome on Feb. 27 between Mr. Yuji Nakamura, Ambassador of Japan to Italy and Mr. Jean- Jacques Graisse, Senior Deputy Executive Director of the WFP, it added.

Japan has been one of WFP's largest donors since 1992, it said, adding that the WFP Cambodia Office has received about 91 million U.S. dollars from Japan.

Source: Xinhua .

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Roundup: Cambodia, Vietnam highlight trade, economic cooperation

Cambodian and Vietnamese leaders have manifested their determination to consolidate the traditional relations of close friendship between the two countries and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas, especially in trade and economy, said an official press release here on Thursday.

The release was sent to Xinhua by the Ministry of Information to conclude Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet's state visit to the kingdom from Feb. 27 to March 1.

During his visit, Triet respectively met with King Sihamoni, Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen on bilateral ties and cooperation and co-chaired the Cambodian-Vietnamese Business Forum with Hun Sen.

"The meetings were held in a very cordial atmosphere and in a spirit of close friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding," said the press release.

Meanwhile, at the forum held here on Wednesday, both Hun Sen and Triet pledged that their governments will try harder to strengthen bilateral ties on trade and economic activities.

"The Vietnamese government (will) work to encourage its investors to do business in Cambodia, and at the same time the Vietnamese government (will) support Cambodian investors interested in pouring capital into Vietnam, by ensuring better conditions for them," said Triet.

Hun Sen said that "the bilateral relations between Cambodia and Vietnam can create an environment conducive to trade and employment," while emphasizing that both nations are currently working to develop new opportunities in the context of economic exchange.

Also at the forum, Cambodian government officials said that the annual trade volume between Vietnam and Cambodia is expected to grow by 27 percent per year to reach 2.45 billion U.S. dollars by 2010.

"There will be significant rise upon the almost 950 million U.S. dollars (of bilateral trade volume) in 2006, which has placed Vietnam as our fourth biggest trade partner," said Kith Meng, president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.

"We must find ways to enhance the inter-connectivity, boost investor confidence and open up more economic sectors that can operate seamlessly across our economy," he added.

Later addressing the forum, Kam Si Than, Acting Cambodian Minister of Commerce, said that in 2006, Cambodia imported from Vietnam about 780 million U.S. dollars worth of commodities, mainly including clothes, cable, household plastic products, noodles, electronic spare parts and others, which was an increase of about 244 million U.S. dollars over 2005.

Meanwhile, he said, in the same year, Cambodia exported to Vietnam around 170 million U.S. dollars worth of products, including rubber, forestry, raw resources for clothes products, tobacco leaves, wooden products and others, which was an increase of about 13 million U.S. dollars over 2005.

At the forum, both sides signed a trade cooperation agreement, under which the ALPHANAM Sai Gon JSC of Vietnam will supply Amatak Angkor Elevator Company Ltd. of Cambodia with electronic equipment worth around 5 million U.S. dollars, as well as a sports donation agreement, under which Vietnam will offer the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia with products worth about 400,000 U.S. dollars.

Currently, Vietnam is Cambodia's third largest market for exports, following the U.S. and Europe, while Cambodia has been Vietnam's fourth largest importer behind Thailand, China and China 's Hong Kong, according to official statistics.

Source: Xinhua .

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Cambodia welcome U.S. Military Aid, rejects conditions

Cambodia welcomes the United States' decision to award military aid to the kingdom, but rejects any conditions attached to it, the Cambodian Daily reported on Thursday, quoting an official.

"We need assistance without strings attached. If it had strings attached, we would not accept it," Chum Sambath, undersecretary of state for Cambodian Ministry of Defense, was quoted as saying.

Pang Savan, director of the Defense Ministry's department of international relations, said that the U.S. has decided to fund the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) directly because it does not belong to any political party.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle told the paper that some 670, 000 U.S. dollars committed in the fiscal year of 2006 by the U.S. government will be channeled to RCAF to purchase articles such as medical and communication equipment as well as protective gear for border security units.

Another 300,000 U.S. dollars will be used for trucks, spare parts and training, he said.

For the current fiscal year, U.S. aid for RCAF will reach 475, 000 U.S. dollars, he added.

RCAF became eligible for direct U.S. funding after Cambodia agreed not to send U.S. nationals to the International Criminal Court and the United States lifted Cambodia's ranking in its anti- human trafficking report in June, according to Daigle.

Source: Xinhua .

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Roundup: Cambodia, Vietnam highlight trade, economic cooperation

Cambodian and Vietnamese leaders have manifested their determination to consolidate the traditional relations of close friendship between the two countries and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas, especially in trade and economy, said an official press release here on Thursday.

The release was sent to Xinhua by the Ministry of Information to conclude Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet's state visit to the kingdom from Feb. 27 to March 1.

During his visit, Triet respectively met with King Sihamoni, Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen on bilateral ties and cooperation and co-chaired the Cambodian-Vietnamese Business Forum with Hun Sen.

"The meetings were held in a very cordial atmosphere and in a spirit of close friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding," said the press release.

Meanwhile, at the forum held here on Wednesday, both Hun Sen and Triet pledged that their governments will try harder to strengthen bilateral ties on trade and economic activities.

"The Vietnamese government (will) work to encourage its investors to do business in Cambodia, and at the same time the Vietnamese government (will) support Cambodian investors interested in pouring capital into Vietnam, by ensuring better conditions for them," said Triet. .

Hun Sen said that "the bilateral relations between Cambodia and Vietnam can create an environment conducive to trade and employment," while emphasizing that both nations are currently working to develop new opportunities in the context of economic exchange.

Also at the forum, Cambodian government officials said that the annual trade volume between Vietnam and Cambodia is expected to grow by 27 percent per year to reach 2.45 billion U.S. dollars by 2010.

"There will be significant rise upon the almost 950 million U.S. dollars (of bilateral trade volume) in 2006, which has placed Vietnam as our fourth biggest trade partner," said Kith Meng, president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce.

"We must find ways to enhance the inter-connectivity, boost investor confidence and open up more economic sectors that can operate seamlessly across our economy," he added.

Later addressing the forum, Kam Si Than, Acting Cambodian Minister of Commerce, said that in 2006, Cambodia imported from Vietnam about 780 million U.S. dollars worth of commodities, mainly including clothes, cable, household plastic products, noodles, electronic spare parts and others, which was an increase of about 244 million U.S. dollars over 2005.

Meanwhile, he said, in the same year, Cambodia exported to Vietnam around 170 million U.S. dollars worth of products, including rubber, forestry, raw resources for clothes products, tobacco leaves, wooden products and others, which was an increase of about 13 million U.S. dollars over 2005.

At the forum, both sides signed a trade cooperation agreement, under which the ALPHANAM Sai Gon JSC of Vietnam will supply Amatak Angkor Elevator Company Ltd. of Cambodia with electronic equipment worth around 5 million U.S. dollars, as well as a sports donation agreement, under which Vietnam will offer the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia with products worth about 400,000 U.S. dollars.

Currently, Vietnam is Cambodia's third largest market for exports, following the U.S. and Europe, while Cambodia has been Vietnam's fourth largest importer behind Thailand, China and China 's Hong Kong, according to official statistics.

Source: Xinhua .

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Cambodia to start tapping Oil in 2010

Cambodia expects to start harvesting revenues from its offshore oil reserves in 2010, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Wednesday.

The health and education sectors in Cambodia will receive a large share of the revenues, Hun Sen said while addressing a public ceremony.

In addition, Cambodia will not follow the path of some oil-rich African countries, who can not enrich themselves hereafter due to corruption, he added.

Here on Feb. 23, United States Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said that the Cambodia government should avoid the situation that "a small corrupt elite siphons off revenue that should go to improving the welfare of all the people."

He also noted that the extractive industries, namely oil, gas and various types of mining, in the next three years could more than triple the annual revenue received by the Cambodian government.

Oil buzz started in Cambodia in 2005, when U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp discovered petroleum off its coast, striking black in four of five test wells.

The government declines to give exact figures about the oil reserves. The World Bank has put them at two billion barrels while the UNDP confirmed 700 million barrels.

Source: Xinhua .

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