Britain’s Fm Meets With Cambodian Officials for Trade Talks. Bangkok – The UK’s top diplomat met with a Cambodian diplomat on Wednesday, urging the UK’s new emphasis on the region to maintain closer economic ties with Southeast Asia.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab met Cambodian Foreign Minister Praxok Sokhon in Phnom Penh in Phnom Penh. His office is said to be the first British foreign minister to visit Cambodia since the British embassy reopened 30 years ago.
Cambodia is set to replace the annual presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, the Raab office said will allow the UK to achieve its closest relationship with the 10-nation bloc, a “dialogue partnership”. non-member countries.
Ahead of the meeting, Raab tweeted “here, as a force of goodwill in the Indo-Pacific region, to promote trade, support Cambodia’s energy transition, expand UK-ASEAN cooperation and goodwill”.
After the meeting, Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement stating that the UK “strongly supports” its aspirations for a dialogue partnership “given its already very active engagement with ASEAN”. The UK is now pursuing a “slant” for the Indo-Pacific region as recommended in the recent UK Government Defense and Foreign Policy Review, given China’s growing influence on the world stage.
In addition to trade, Britain sent a strike group led by the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth earlier this year to Asia for 28 weeks. When Raab met officials, human rights observers noted that Cambodia had recently arrested and imprisoned environmentalists, urging the foreign minister for their release and about 70 other political prisoners.
Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch, said:
“Foreign Minister Raab’s visit is in the midst of a human rights crisis in Cambodia, and both his remarks and public declarations should reflect this.” “The UK must also ensure that the future trade preferences granted to Cambodia are firmly grounded in the advancement of civil and political rights.
Following the meeting with Prak Sokhonn, Raab tweeted that the two had talked about “trade, human rights and our common priorities like #Mianmar,” but didn’t elaborate. Raab also met with Environment Minister Say Sam Al. Government spokeswoman Nespekhtra said on Twitter that he had addressed ‘common priorities’, including human rights, trade, COVID-19, and Myanmar.
He did not provide any more detailed information. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on human rights issues. Raab has started traveling to three countries in Vietnam and will be heading to Singapore after visiting Cambodia. He made his fifth visit to Southeast Asia as a foreign minister.