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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Kingdom of Cambodia National Day

The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates its National Day Nov. 9, Monday. On this day in 1953, King Norodom Sihanouk declared the country’s independence from French colonial rule.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Cambodia were formally established in 1957.

Although our relations were affected by the Khmer rouge regime in 1975, the Philippines and Cambodia have maintained cordial ties since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1995 and the reopening of the Cambodian Embassy in Manila in 1999. The two countries have concluded agreements on economic and trade relations, agricultural and agribusiness collaboration, and tourism cooperation.

Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004 and attended the inaugural East Asia Summit in 2005.

Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with numerous countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, and Russia. As a result of its international relations, various charitable organizations have assisted with both social and civil infrastructure needs.

We congratulate the people and government of the Kingdom of Cambodia headed by His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni, and H.E., Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and its Embassy in the Philippines led by Ambassador In May, on the occasion of their National Day.
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Cambodia announces Thaksin visit

By Kounila Keo Kounila Keo


PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Phnom Penh this week in his new role as economics adviser, the Cambodian PM said Sunday, further stoking a row with Thailand.

"Thaksin will be at the Ministry of Economy and Finance on November 12 to do a briefing with more than 300 Cambodian economics experts," Hun Sen told a news conference at Phnom Penh International Airport.

The visit is set to increase tensions with neighbouring Thailand, which have escalated since Wednesday when Cambodia announced the appointment of Thaksin -- ousted as Thai prime minister in a 2006 coup -- as economics adviser.

Both countries Thursday recalled their respective ambassadors and Thailand warned Friday that it could seal the border.

"If you want to close, close it. The loss will be mutual," said Hun Sen Sunday, pointing out that Thailand had more to lose in terms of border trade profit.

"If Thais want to close the border, Cambodia will follow. If Thais close the border, all trade between Cambodia and Thailand will be cut off," Hun Sen told reporters.

Thaksin is living abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption, but Cambodia said last week the charges against him were "politically motivated" and vowed not to extradite him if he travelled to the country.

"Please let Thaksin share my burden of boosting the economy of Cambodia," Hun Sen appealed to the Thai people Sunday.

Earlier, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said billionaire Thaksin faced a "conflict of interest", having previously been chief of negotiations in Thailand and now working "for another side".

Twice-elected Thaksin remains a deeply divisive figure in Thailand, where his supporters have stirred up a series of protests in recent months against the government.

His own allies were forced from government in December 2008 after anti-Thaksin demonstrators held a crippling blockade of Bangkok's airports.

Abhisit used his weekly television programme to defend Thailand's handling of the spat with Cambodia, saying it had acted "calmly and carefully".

The two countries have fought a series of deadly clashes on their border since July 2008 in a dispute over land around an ancient Cambodian temple that was granted UN World Heritage Status.

"There is no reason to make tensions at the border which might lead to clashes," Abhisit added.

Hun Sen also used his press conference on Sunday to downplay tensions at the border, announce the withdrawal of elite paratroopers from disputed territory near Preah Vihear temple because the situation there was "quiet".

Commander Chab Pheakdey, head of the unit, refused to divulge the number of soldiers that would be withdrawn from the area.

The head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, General Surin Pitsuwan, urged Thailand and Cambodia on Saturday to show "maximum restraint" in their ongoing spat.

He said the 10-country bloc should not be seen to be divided by the dispute ahead of a historic meeting with US President Barack Obama and regional leaders later this month. But Abhisit denied the issue would affect the summit.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also told Hun Sen at a bilateral meeting in Tokyo Saturday that he was "concerned" about the row, a Japanese official said.

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Thaksin to visit Cambodia this week: PM

PHNOM PENH - Ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia this week in his new role as the government's economics adviser, the Cambodian Prime Minister told reporters Sunday.

"Thaksin will be at the Ministry of Economy and Finance on November 12, to do a briefing with more than 300 Cambodian economics experts," Hun Sen told a news conference at Phnom Penh International Airport.

The visit is likely to increase tensions between Cambodia and Thailand, which have escalated since Wednesday when Cambodia announced the appointment of Thaksin, who was ousted as Thai prime minister in a 2006 coup.

Both countries Thursday recalled their respective ambassadors and Thailand warned Friday that it could seal the border.

"If you want to close, close it. The loss will be mutual," said Hun Sen Sunday, pointing out that Thailand had more to lose in terms of border trade profit.

"If Thais want to close the border, Cambodia will follow. If Thais close the border, all trade between Cambodia and Thailand will be cut off," Hun Sen told reporters.

Thaksin is living abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption, but Cambodia said last week the charges against him were "politically motivated" and vowed not to extradite him if he travelled to the country.

"Please let Thaksin share my burden of boosting the economy of Cambodia," Hun Sen appealed to the Thai people Sunday.

But the premier also used the press conference to downplay tensions at the border, announce the withdrawal of elite paratroopers from disputed territory near Preah Vihear temple.

The two countries have fought a series of deadly clashes on their border since July 2008 in the dispute over land around the ancient Cambodian temple that was granted UN World Heritage Status.

"After examining the situation at the border between Cambodia and Thailand, the situation was quiet," Hun Sen said.

"So I announce the withdrawal of special paratroop number 911 from the area at Preah Vihear temple, and their return to the headquarters. The implementation will be finished within a week."

Commander Chab Pheakdey, head of the unit, refused to divulge the number of soldiers that would be withdrawn from the area.

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Cambodia to withdraw part of its troops from border areas with Thailand: PM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday afternoon announced that Cambodia has planed to withdraw part of its troops from the border areas with Thailand.

Hun Sen made the announcement at a press conference held at the Phnom Penh International Airport where he arrived from the first Mekong-Japan Summit from Nov. 6 to 7, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan.

"What I should start with today is that after examining the border issue between Cambodia and Thailand, the situation is normal, quiet, then we decide to withdraw small unit 911 from Preah Vihear to the camp, and one week from now, complete withdrawal," Hun Sen said, adding that "The dispute is not between the two nationalities of Cambodian and Thai, or the two peoples, nor military and ministry between the two countries, but Abhisit and Hun Sen or Bangkok and Phnom Penh."

Relations between the two neighboring countries were strained in the past week when Cambodia named ousted former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra its economic adviser. Thailand recalled its ambassador Thursday, and Cambodia followed suit.

Hun Sen also told reporters that Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia to give a lecture on Thursday. He said that "Thaksin will make a lecture on economic topics in Phnom Penh on Nov. 12 in the morning to 300 people. I cannot tell you when and from where he will come through, but he will make a lecture here." (PNA/Xinhua)

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Thailand protecting 'dignity’ in Cambodia spat: PM

AFP, Bangkok

Thailand's prime minister Sunday defended his actions in an ongoing spat with Cambodia over Phnom Penh's job offer to a fugitive former Thai premier, saying he had to protect the country's dignity.

"All the government has done is for dignity of the country and Thai people," said premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, adding that Thailand had acted "calmly and carefully" to deal with the recent escalation of tensions. Cambodia and Thailand on Thursday recalled their respective ambassadors after Cambodia appointed Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted as Thailand's prime minister in a coup in 2006, as an economic adviser.

Abhisit said billionaire Thaksin faced a "conflict of interest", having previously been chief of negotiations in Thailand and now working "for another side".

Thaksin is living abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption, but Cambodia said the charges against him were "politically motivated" and vowed not to extradite him if he travelled to the country. "Criticising our justice system is unacceptable," said Abhisit, although he said he thought Cambodia was "misinformed".

"Everyone has to protect our justice system's dignity," he added during his weekly television programme.

The two countries have fought a series of deadly clashes on their border since July 2008 in a dispute over land around an ancient Cambodian temple that was granted UN World Heritage Status.

"There is no reason to make tensions at the border which might lead to clashes," Abhisit added.

Thailand had warned Friday that it could seal the border between the two countries and further stoked the row by saying it would tear up an oil and gas exploration deal with Cambodia.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen at a bilateral meeting in Tokyo Saturday that he was "concerned" about the spat, a Japanese official said.
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