The Prime Minister of Singapore is visiting Cambodia this week for the first time since 1996 to meet with government officials and make his first trip to the temples of Angkor Wat.
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong arrived at Siem Reap airport on Sunday, and will spend two days there before flying to Phnom Penh.
He will have lunch with King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath on Tuesday before meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen for bilateral talks.
Goh will meet with more government leaders on Wednesday, then play a round of golf with Hun Sen before meeting with local members of the Singapore community that evening. He flies out Thursday.
The two countries share friendly relations. Cambodia was among the first countries to recognize Singapore when it proclaimed its independence.
“A lot of other countries followed suit; that is a thing we have not forgotten,” said Singapore’s Ambassador to Cambodia Verghese Mathews.
Singapore today pays for a variety of training programs for Cambodians, but gives no direct cash assistance, under a series of initiatives meant to strengthen the weaker economies within Asean.
More Singaporeans have come to Cambodia in recent months following the opening of a direct flight between Singapore and Siem Reap on Silk Air.
A father of two, Goh, 59, is married to Tan Choo Leng, an advocate and solicitor. He studied economics at the University of Singapore and Williams College, in the US state of Massachusetts, before he was elected to parliament in 1976.
Goh followed the longtime reign of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who publicly said Goh was not his first choice for prime minister. As Singapore has continued to build its standing as a financial powerhouse in Asia and the world, Goh has become a respected leader.
Goh and Hun Sen last met when Hun Sen flew to Singapore in June of 2000.