September 14, 2011

Thai PM's Cambodia visit may restore mutual trust, investment


PHNOM PENH, Sept. 14 -- Cambodian analysts believe that the visit of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Cambodia on Thursday this week could restore mutual trust and trade and investment relations between the two countries.

"From my point of view, the meeting of the two PMs will probably focus on fixing the damaged bilateral ties since 2008 and most importantly, to reinitiate mutual trust among the two countries' investors," Dr. Sok Touch, academic of political science and vice president of the Khemarak University, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

He said that the two countries' border conflict since 2008 has made both sides' investors lose confidence.

"Therefore, the meeting may be the time for the two leaders to restore confidence for the investors," he said.

Thailand's investments in Cambodia have seen a sharp decline in the last few years. According to the report of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the country had approved Thai investment projects of 178 million U.S. dollars in 2009 and only 2 million U.S. dollars in 2010 and finally to zero investment from Thailand in the first seven months of this year.

On bilateral trade ties, the trade volume had increased only 1. 4 percent to 1.43 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of this year -- the first-ever lowest growth recorded, according to the statistics from the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Chheng Kimlong, economics lecturer at the University of Cambodia, said the visit would be the start of bilateral cooperation.

"It's obvious that the visit will re-build confidence among both sides' investors," he said.

He foresaw that the two PMs may also discuss on border issues and offshore oil and gas joint development in the overlapping areas.

However, Sok Touch said that the border issues may not be the hot topic during the two leaders' meeting as the issues have been decided by the International Court of Justice already and it's the role of the ASEAN to deal with it.

On July 18, the International Court of Justice ordered Cambodia and Thailand to immediately withdraw their military personnel from the provisional demilitarized zone on the disputed border near the Preah Vihear Temple and allow ASEAN observers access to the provisional demilitarized zone to monitor a ceasefire.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Koy Kuong said Wednesday that the agenda for the two PMs' meeting had not been disclosed so far.

"But, it will definitely improve bilateral ties on all sectors diplomacy, politics, economy, trade, investment and tourism," said Koy Kuong. "It will be the start of a new page of bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand."

Yingluck will arrive in Cambodia on Sept. 15 in the afternoon for a half-day visit. During the stay, she will hold talks with Hun Sen and will also be received in royal audience by King Norodom Sihamoni.

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflicts over the territorial dispute near the Preah Vihear Temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008 and witnessed fierce border fighting in February and April during the Thai's Democrat-led administration.

But tensions have eased since the Pheu Thai Party, led by ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's youngest sister Yingluck, won a landslide victory in the general elections on July 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment