Cambodia and Russia on Friday signed the plan of consultations for 2022-2024, aiming at further strengthening the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
The deal was inked between Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the 55th ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings in Phnom Penh.According to a joint statement released after the signing ceremony, the two ministers agreed to promote further the development of long-lasting and time-tested bonds of friendship and mutual support between the two countries.
“Cambodia and Russia will maintain and intensify political dialogue, regular contacts between the governments, parliaments, local authorities and political parties,” the statement said.
The two countries will enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and investment, science and technology, education and culture, defense and security.
The countries agreed to create favorable conditions for activities of organisations and companies in all the areas.
“Cambodia and Russia will continue to respect legitimate interests of each other in bilateral relations and within the framework of regional and international fora,” the statement added.
The ministers also agreed to promote mutual support on key issues on international and regional agenda, with emphasis on strengthening ASEAN centrality in the context of expanding multilateral interaction in Asia-Pacific space.
The White House summoned China’s ambassador to Washington to condemn the “irresponsible” behaviour of Beijing over Taiwan, a senior US official said Friday.
John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said that Ambassador Qin Gang was summoned following China’s military sabre rattling in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to self-ruled, democratic Taiwan.
Kirby, who also described China’s actions as “provocative,” did not say which officials met with the ambassador.
“We condemned the PRC’s military actions, which are irresponsible, at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability and across the Taiwan Strait,” he said, referring to China by its official acronym for the People’s Republic of China.
“We made clear to the ambassador that Beijing’s actions are of concern to Taiwan, to us, and to our partners around the world,” Kirby said, highlighting concerns from the G7 group of wealthy democracies and the Asian regional grouping ASEAN.
“Finally, we made clear once again as we have done privately at the highest levels and publicly: nothing has changed about our one China policy,” Kirby said.
He was referring to the US position of only acknowledging the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China.
It leaves it to the two sides to work out a solution, while opposing any use of force to change the status quo.
Beijing insists that Taiwan is a part of China awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Taiwan’s current ruling party has vowed to defend the island’s sovereignty.
“We also made clear that the United States is prepared for what Beijing chooses to do.
We will not seek and do not want a crisis,” he said.
“At the same time, we will not be deterred from operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific, consistent with international law, as we have for decades — supporting Taiwan and defending a free and open” Pacific region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described Myanmar as a friendly and long-standing partner as he met the foreign minister of the military government, Wunna Maung Lwin, on Wednesday.
Lavrov’s visit to Myanmar coincided with several days of foreign ministers’ meetings of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia.
Lwin, however, was not allowed to attend the meetings in Cambodia because of the ongoing violence in his country since the military coup one and a half years ago.
Russia is isolated from most Western countries because of the war in Ukraine, which it had been waging since February, but Moscow continued to pursue contacts in South-East Asia. The military junta in the crisis-ridden country of Myanmar supported Russia’s attack at the beginning of the war.
One addition to describing Myanmar as a friendly and long-standing partner, Lavrov also said that the two countries were linked by decades of cooperation.
Former Burma had been mired in chaos and violence since a military coup in February 2021. (
Russia backs the Myanmar junta’s efforts to “stabilise” the crisis-wracked country and hold elections next year, its foreign minister said in talks with top generals on Wednesday, according to Russian state media.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the putsch last year, with the junta accused by rights groups of committing war crimes as it struggles to crush resistance to its rule.
Isolated internationally and with Western governments imposing sanctions, the military government has sought to deepen ties with major ally and arms supplier Russia — whose invasion of Ukraine it has said was “justified”.
“We are in solidarity with the efforts [by the junta] aimed at stabilising the situation in the country,” Sergei Lavrov said during talks in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw, according to the TASS news agency.
“Next year, you will hold legislative elections and we wish you success,” Lavrov added, referring to proposed August 2023 elections that opponents of the coup have said will be neither free nor fair.
On Monday junta chief Min Aung Hlaing — who travelled to Moscow last month — said polls could only take place when the conflict-wracked country was “stable and peaceful”.
The putsch has sparked renewed fighting with established ethnic rebel groups in border areas, while dozens of civilian “People’s Defence Force” militias have also sprung up to battle the military.
Russia — along with ally China — has been accused by rights groups and a UN expert of arming the military with weapons used to attack civilians.
Lavrov and junta chief Min Aung Hlaing also discussed opening new consulates “to promote an increase in travel” between their two countries, TASS said.
The junta has yet to comment on Lavrov’s visit.
Lavrov is scheduled to travel on to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ meeting in Cambodia from which the junta’s top diplomat has been excluded.
The bloc joined a chorus of international outrage last week after the junta announced it had executed four prisoners, including a former lawmaker and a democracy activist, in the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades.
– ‘Disappointed and disturbed’ –ASEAN has been growing increasingly frustrated at Myanmar’s lack of progress on a five-point peace plan agreed last year.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen — the current ASEAN chair — on Wednesday warned Myanmar against further hangings.
He said the regional bloc was “disappointed and disturbed” by last month’s executions, and that the further use of capital punishment would mean a “rethink” of the five-point peace plan.
Isolated on the international stage, the junta has turned increasingly to allies including China and Russia.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was in Moscow on a “private” visit in July and reportedly met with officials from Moscow’s space agency Roscosmos and nuclear agencies.
In Naypyidaw, Lavrov said Roscosmos would build “new infrastructure” in Myanmar in cooperation with the junta.
The army has justified its power grab by alleging massive fraud during the 2020 elections, in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) trounced a military-backed party.
Last year, it cancelled the results of the polls, saying it had uncovered more than 11 million instances of voter fraud.
International observers said the voting was largely free and fair.
More than 2,100 people have been killed in a military crackdown on dissent, according to a local monitor.
Cambodian Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng on Thursday applauded the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) for its efforts at maintaining investment and expand the business.
SSEZ is an enterprise constructed by the Chyand Cambodians aimed at creating an ideal platform for enterprises’ “investment in ASEAN, radiation to the world ”.
This is coming in spite of the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impact.
Samheng made the remarks during a meeting here with Chen Jiangang, president of the SSEZ, which was the kingdom’s largest industrial zone in terms of size and occupancy.
“Maintaining the robust development of the SSEZ is a testament to the ironclad friendship between our two countries, Cambodia and China,’’ the minister said.
“It’s also part of the Cambodia-China cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, which has provided significant benefits to Cambodia,’’ he added.
Samheng also praised the zone operator for paying particular attention to the workers’ well-being through providing healthcare, especially for pregnant workers, and building dormitories.
Meanwhile, the minister said the Chinese-invested Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway project, which connects Phnom Penh and the province of Preah Sihanouk, would speed up travel between the two economic powerhouses.
He said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement, which both entered into force on Jan. 1, would boost trade and investment relations between Cambodia and China.
During the meeting, Chen briefed the minister about the progress in the SSEZ development.
Chen said that the value of imports and exports passing through the zone reached 1.
37 billion U.
S. dollars in the first half of 2022, up 38 per cent year-on-year.
He said the SSEZ currently houses 170 enterprises from China, Europe, the United States and some other Asian countries, generating nearly 30,000 jobs.
Cambodian Ministry of Commerce’s undersecretary of state and spokesman Penn Sovicheat said the SSEZ is a perfect example of win-win cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“The SSEZ has provided a lot of jobs to workers and served as a role model for the cluster industries and as a base for exports,’’ he told Xinhua.
Japanese carmaker Toyota has planned to invest 1.8 billion dollars in Indonesia in the next five years to make the country a regional manufacturing hub for its electric vehicles.
An Indonesian government official said this on Wednesday.
Vice Chairperson Shigeru Hayakawa made the commitment in a Tuesday meeting with an Indonesian ministerial delegation in Tokyo, Indonesia’s chief economics minister Airlangga Hartarto, said.
“I believe that the demand for electric vehicles in Indonesia and in the ASEAN Association of South-east Asian Nations region in the future will continue to increase,’’ Airlangga said in a statement.
“Indonesia can be used as a manufacturing base for electric vehicles to be marketed in the ASEAN region,’’ Airlangga said.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on a tour of three East Asian countries, which includes a stop in Japan on Wednesday.
Toyota also planned to introduce several types of hybrid electric vehicles in the next four years, the statement said.
“We hope that with this increase in investment in Indonesia, the Indonesian government will understand our seriousness in making electric vehicles,’’ Hayakawa was quoted as saying.
Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of nickel, a key component of batteries used in electric vehicles, wants to be a regional manufacturing hub for battery-powered cars.
This year, South Korean carmaker Hyundai launched the Ioniq 5, the first electric vehicle produced at its new plant near Jakarta.
Dialogue between Myanmar's junta and ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to end the bloody crisis sparked by the ouster of her government last year "is not impossible," a junta spokesman told AFP on Friday.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in chaos since the coup, with renewed fighting with rebellious ethnic groups, dozens of "People's Defense Forces" springing up to fight the junta and the tattered economy.
Suu Kyi, 77, has been held virtually incommunicado by the military and was recently transferred from house arrest to solitary confinement as she faces multiple trials that could see her sentenced to more than 150 years in jail.
"There is nothing impossible in politics," board spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP when asked if the board could enter into dialogue with Suu Kyi to resolve the turmoil.
"We cannot say that (negotiations with Suu Kyi) are impossible."
"Several countries" had urged opening dialogue with the Nobel laureate, he said, without giving details.
Diplomatic efforts spearheaded by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member, have so far failed to stem the bloodshed.
Last year, the bloc agreed to a "five-point consensus," calling for a cessation of violence and constructive dialogue, but the junta has largely ignored it.
ASEAN envoy and Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn arrived in Myanmar on Wednesday for his second visit to boost dialogue between the junta and opponents of his government.
He met with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing on Thursday and met with members of various political parties in the army-built capital Naypyidaw on Friday, a spokesman for the junta said.
The board has said that he will not be allowed to visit Suu Kyi.
“We have done everything that she asked for related to her health and living situation,” said Zaw Min Tun regarding Suu Kyi's new living conditions in prison.
Fighting continues across swaths of the country, with local media reporting killings and burnings by junta troops as they struggle to crush opposition to the coup.
Nearly 700,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the coup, the United Nations said in May.
Thailand on Thursday disabled F-16 fighter jets after a Myanmar plane involved in clashes with anti-coup fighters near its border violated its airspace, officials said.
China's foreign minister was due to land in Myanmar on Friday for a regional meeting, in what will be Beijing's most high-profile visit to Myanmar since the coup.
It was unclear whether a meeting between Wang Yi and board chief Min Aung Hlaing would take place, a board spokesman said.
China is a major arms supplier and ally of the junta and has refused to label the military takeover a "coup."
Foreign-funded banks support Shanghai enterprises amid COVID-19 epidemic
Foreign-funded banks support Shanghai enterprises amid COVID-19 epidemic
Shanghai, May 27, 2022 Amid the latest resurgence of COVID-19, foreign-funded banks in Shanghai have provided various financial services to enterprises and helped them raise capital and hedge risks.
Considering the impact of COVID-19 on the automobile industry, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (China) engaged in five Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) transactions to raise capital for companies in the auto industry.
This is while also underwriting 400 million yuan (about 59 million dollars) and buying 600 million Yuan of ABS in April, said Chen Shile, head of the capital market department of the bank.
Global banks in Shanghai have also helped foreign trade companies hedge the risks of exchange rate volatility.
For a client importing iron ore using U.S. dollars, BNP Paribas (China) proposed a hedging plan for payments worth 30 million dollars.
Although the Yuan depreciated against the U.S. dollar, the forward exchange contract guaranteed stable income and expectations for the enterprise, said Zhang Dafan, a senior expert of the bank.
United Overseas Bank (China) Limited has facilitated qualified enterprises in cross-border Chinese renminbi settlements during the period to help them avoid trade risks associated with exchange rate fluctuations.
The bank has said it would continue to provide one-stop financial services for Chinese and global enterprises and integrate business networks with ASEAN.
Minister Radegonde assured the Secretary General of Seychelles of the commitment to continue strengthening relations with ASEAN and individual member countries of the organization.VICTORIA, Seychelles, January 13, 2022 / APO Group / -
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, held talks yesterday with the Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), HE Dato Lim Jock Hoi, at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta.
The ASEAN Secretary General, who recently paid a working visit to Seychelles, recalled his dialogue with the President of the Republic of Seychelles and members of the cabinet of ministers in December 2021, reiterating his intention to follow up on the issues discussed.
Minister Radegonde assured the Secretary General of Seychelles of the commitment to continue improving relations with ASEAN and individual member countries of the organization.
The Secretary General has proposed that ASEAN co-host an ASEAN AFRICA Forum in Seychelles this year. The forum will aim to share the next perspectives to foster economic growth.
Minister Radegonde was accompanied by Mr. Nico Barito, Seychelles' Envoy to ASEAN.
Cambodia's ruling strongman Hun Sen traveled to Myanmar on Friday to speak with the junta, the first foreign leader to visit since the generals took power nearly a year ago.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the February 1 coup that toppled the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and ended a decade-long flirtation with democracy.
More than 1,400 civilians have died as the army cracks down on dissent, according to a local watchdog group, and numerous anti-junta militias have emerged across the country.
Hun Sen, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), landed in the capital Naypyidaw with three million masks and other medical equipment as a gift to the board.
He has said that he will use his meeting with military leader Min Aung Hlaing to press the "five-point consensus" that ASEAN leaders agreed to last year as a means to defuse the Myanmar crisis.
Before his trip, he called for a ceasefire, urging "all relevant parties" to stop the violence that has plagued the country for almost a year.
Human rights groups and local activists against the junta had urged Hun Sen to cancel the two-day trip, saying it legitimized the military regime.
But he insisted that the visit could have a positive impact.
No change of generals
International powers have piled up diplomatic pressure on Myanmar's military administration, officially called the State Governing Council, with even traditional allies like China lukewarm in their support.
But repeated convictions and new rounds of sanctions have shown little sign of diverting the generals from their chosen course.
In the latest atrocity, more than 30 people were killed on Christmas Eve in a massacre attributed to the military.
The visit by Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge cadre who has led Cambodia for three decades, comes as ASEAN seeks to help Myanmar out of the crisis.
The regional bloc has tried to shed its reputation as a toothless charlatan and take action on Myanmar, and the leaders agreed to a "five-point consensus" last year.
In October, the bloc took the highly unusual step of excluding Min Aung Hlaing from a summit in response to an ASEAN envoy being denied a meeting with Suu Kyi.
Cambodia has said it wants to bring Myanmar back into the fold and earlier this week Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said the visit was aimed at creating a space for "inclusive dialogue and political trust between all the parts".
The visit has drawn criticism from human rights groups and a group of ousted lawmakers known as the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representative Committee (CRPH).
The CRPH issued a statement saying that the trip "would not bring benefits" and that the people of Myanmar would be "outraged".
Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch called the trip "a slap in the face to the other eight ASEAN member states that had no say in the matter."
Amnesty International said the visit may do more harm than good.
Myanmar's junta has justified the coup by claiming election fraud in the 2020 elections, and Suu Kyi faces a series of charges that could land her in jail for decades.
Source Credit: TheGuardian