Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Prak Sokhonn today had a phone conversation with Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women of Australia.

According to a press release of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation made public this evening, the two Foreign Ministers discussed bilateral cooperation and regional and international issues of common concern, including the recently established trilateral security partnership, “AUKUS”.

The two Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction on the progress of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including under the Mekong-Australia Partnership (MPA). They reaffirmed their commitment to working more closely to further strengthen the relations in both bilateral and multilateral frameworks for mutual benefits of the two countries and for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, particularly when Cambodia assumes ASEAN Chairmanship next year.

On regional issue, Senator the Hon Marise Payne briefed H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn on the background of the AUKUS partnership and its objectives. She stressed that AUKUS has been built for the common interest of the peaceful, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region, and has no intention to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability. Also, the partnership will not be an addition to arm race in the region. As part of the AUKUS, Australia would be able to acquire nuclear-powered submarines to upgrade the capabilities of the Royal Australian Navy. She reiterated that Australia is committed to the nuclear non-proliferation obligations and to working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Senator the Hon Marise Payne also reaffirmed Australia’s continued supports for ASEAN Centrality and the principles outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. She stressed that Australia is committed to upholding the obligations under the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SPNWFZ) and Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaties.

H.E. Prak Sokhonn thanked Senator the Hon Marise Payne for the information regarding the AUKUS. He appreciated Australia’s commitment to support ASEAN centrality and expand engagement with all agreements and treaties, especially TAC, SEANWFZ, and Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN). The Deputy Prime Minister also encouraged Australia to have constructive engagement with ASEAN through all ASEAN-led mechanisms in building mutual trust and confidence in order to securing an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture. He highlighted that Cambodia, as a country which had experienced war, destruction, and suffering for many decades, wishes to see the whole region remains peaceful, stable, and prosperous, and expected that AUKUS will not fuel unhealthy rivalries and further escalate tension.

H.E. Deputy Prime Minister also encouraged Australia and other ASEAN’s external partners to further support the four key areas of cooperation outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which include maritime cooperation, connectivity, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and economic and other possible areas of cooperation.

Both sides also exchanged views on pressing regional issues pertaining to peace, security and stability in the region, including the situation in Myanmar.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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