Thailand and Cambodia have taken a significant step towards strengthening their defence and trade ties by scheduling a General Border Committee (GBC) meeting in March of the upcoming year. The declaration was made by Thailand’s Defence Minister, Sutin Klungsang, during his official visit to Cambodia on December 2, 2023.
This visit not only emphasized the enduring bond between the two nations but also served as the minister’s inaugural international trip since assuming office.
During his visit, Mr. Sutin discussed policies with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet to enhance collaboration along the border. The discussions focused on national security issues, extraditions, military assistance, investment, and tourism.
Cambodia will host the 16th GBC meeting, which aims to further boost demining efforts along the border. The cooperation on demining will continue, with Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute working with Cambodia’s defence ministry to research and develop weapons.
Mr. Sutin also accompanied Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Gen Tea Seiha, to inspect an honour guard. Gen Seiha expressed gratitude to Thai authorities for their care of Cambodian labourers along the border and thanked the Thai army for organising the Asean Armies Rifle Meet. This event facilitated weapons training for Cambodian military officers, resulting in improved military skills among their ranks.
Both countries have consistently trained each other’s military officers, reflecting the close military ties between them. They are committed to fostering peace in their border region through a joint effort to eliminate all active mines along the border. The upcoming GBC meeting in Cambodia, along with meetings of the Regional Border Committee and the High-Level Committee, will drive this mission forward.
The collaboration between the defence ministries of both nations is set to enhance military innovation. Gen Seiha, who also serves as deputy premier, emphasized the strong bond between the two countries, likening them to brothers.
The commitment of their nations to eliminate active mines along the border not only ensures safety and security in the border areas but also fosters trust and cooperation between the two nations. Talks on border trade, investment, and tourism have the potential to boost economic activity, benefiting both countries. The agreement to collaborate on enhancing military innovation can facilitate the exchange of knowledge and technology, thereby strengthening the defence capabilities of both nations.
As ASEAN nations, stronger bilateral ties between Cambodia and Thailand can contribute to unity and cooperation within the ASEAN community. Thailand’s efforts in safeguarding Cambodian migrant workers can lead to improved living and working conditions, representing a positive step towards upholding human rights and labour rights in the region.
The visit by Thailand’s Defence Minister to Cambodia signifies a significant milestone in strengthening defence and trade relations between the two countries, with a specific focus on border collaboration and demining efforts. The discussions held during the visit have paved the way for a peaceful, prosperous, and cooperative relationship between the two nations.