South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday witnessed their governments’ signing of an extradition treaty and the framework for a $200 million loan during the first day of the president’s visit to Cambodia.
Another seven agreements pertaining to education; rice exports; petroleum and mineral resource development; climate change and the environment, bilateral trade and broadcasting will also be signed by various government ministers from both countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Kuy Kuong said yesterday.
“This visit will strengthen and deepen the bond between the countries in various fields,” he said.
The $200 million loan is part of South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund, which extends to 2012, Mr Kuong said.
In a written statement released after a bilateral summit meeting with Mr Hun Sen, Mr Lee congratulated Cambodia for achieving an average economic growth rate of 10 percent over the past five years, doubling the average of other Asean countries.
“I am proud that Korea could join the economic drive of Cambodia,” he wrote.
Mr Lee added that there are 500 Korean companies investing in Cambodia as well as a Korean businesses operating here, most noticeably in the garment sector.
The statement also said future cooperation between the two countries will focus on agriculture, mining, construction and forestry. Speaking to reporters at the Foreign Affairs Minister after the two leaders met, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said other agreements were on disaster assessment and aid for Cambodian victims of Typhoon Ketsana and one-year, multiple-entry visas for South Korean nationals.
Mr Lee’s first day in Cambodia also included an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni, a luncheon with Cambodian and Korean businesspeople and a visit to Independence Monument. This is the second time Mr Lee has visited Cambodia and the first time since becoming president in February.
The South Korean president and the Cambodian premier held their first bilateral meeting in June when the Mr Hun Sen visited Seoul for a special Korea-Asean meeting.
Mr Lee’s trip ends today after a visit to Siem Reap, from where he is to travel to Hua Hin, Thailand for the 15th Asean summit.
(Additional reporting by Christi Hang)