Your Excellency President Lee Myung-bak,
Your Excellency Chairman,
Your Majesty the Sultan,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am greatly delighted and honored to attend the 20th ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit held in this marvelous city of Jeju. At the outset, on behalf of the Cambodian Government, I would like to express our deep gratitude to H.E. President Lee Myung-bak and the Government of the Republic of Korea for the excellent arrangements for this Summit and the warm hospitality extended my delegation.
The bond of friendship between ROK and ASEAN countries has been rapidly strengthened over the years from the sectoral dialogue relations initiated in 1989 to a full dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1991, and was elevated to a summit level in 1997. Since then, the ASEAN-ROK cooperation has blossomed with rapid progress in economic, social and cultural cooperation.
I highly appreciate the ROK’s contribution to the strengthening of confidence, peace and stability in the region, especially the firm commitment to denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula. Cambodia urges the six party talks to respect for the Joint Statement on the Elimination of the Nuclear in Korean Peninsula dated on 13 February 2007, and respect for the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 1718 dated 14 October 2006. Moreover, Cambodia supports all efforts made to bring the North Korea back to an urgent 6-parties meeting as soon as possible in order to ease the tension in the peninsula.
The relationship reached a new height with the signing of the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership at the 8th ASEAN-ROK Summit in 2004 and the adoption of the ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action (POA) at the 9th Summit in 2005. I am pleased to note with satisfaction that ASEAN-ROK relations have been expanded and deepened over the recent years in all areas as mentioned in the Plan of Action, including political and security, economic, social and cultural cooperation as well as the ROK’s support for ASEAN integration and community building efforts through the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI).
I am pleased to take note of progress in the field of economic cooperation. The total trade between ASEAN and the ROK in 2007 grew by 9.5% from USD 55.9 billion in 2006 to USD 61.3 billion. ROK’s foreign direct investment to ASEAN has more than double increase from USD 1.3 billion in 2006 to USD 2.8 billion in 2007. In this sense, Cambodia hopes that the coming into force of the Trade Agreement on Goods and Services between ASEAN and Korea will promote the realization of ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area by 2012 for ASEAN – 6 and by 2018 for Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar as planned.
The negotiation on Investment Agreement is on-going, yet we should push for its conclusion as soon as possible. I am very pleased with the increase of Korean investment flows into Cambodia in some important sectors such as real estate development and banking and financial sector. At the same time, Cambodia is willing to cooperate with ASEAN and ROK to invest in alternative sources of energy such as bio-fuels, hydro power, and other energy sources. In the financial sector, cooperation between ASEAN and ROK is crucial for the implementation of the financial liberalization roadmap, especially the capital market development. Cambodia is very grateful to the Korean Exchange and KOICA in providing both technical and financial support for an establishment of the stock market, which is scheduled to launch in the near future. I highly appreciate ROK’s efforts in cooperating in the areas of food, agriculture and forestry through technology cooperation for the improvement of efficiency. In the area of information technology, ASEAN and ROK have good cooperation aimed at achieving common prosperity for East Asia, and narrowing the digital divide. In this regard, I highly appreciate the establishment of ASEAN-ROK Centre (AKC), which is truly important for fostering cooperation between ASEAN and the ROK in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and cultural cooperation.
At this Summit, I would like to urge Korea to further support the 2nd IAI Work Plan (2009-2015) and other projects which are essential for the realization of ASEAN Community by 2015 and East Asia Community in the long run.
Finally, on behalf of the Government and the Cambodian people, I would like to express my deepest thanks to the government and people of the ROK for their continuous support to Cambodia in the forms of grants and soft loans, and for encouraging more Korean investors to invest and more Korean tourists to come to Cambodia.