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March 6, 2024

Thailand To Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation with Cambodia

thailand cambodia bilateral cooperation
— https://www.thaigov.go.th/news/contents/details/78562
March 6, 2024

Thai Prime Minister Sretta Thavisin and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet convened in Bangkok to enhance initiatives aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation. The two leaders engaged in discussions regarding joint exploration for hydrocarbon resources and delineation of maritime boundaries within a disputed, energy-rich area in the Gulf of Thailand. The dialogue, focusing on the collaborative exploration of gas and oil within the overlapping claims area (OCA), is particularly pertinent as both nations grapple with escalating electricity and fuel prices, alongside efforts to promote renewable energy. Previous estimations indicate that the OCA potentially harbors up to 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 500 million barrels of oil reserves. The two countries aim to establish a joint technical team for exploration of the OCA soon. Chatchai Viriyavejkul, director-general of the ministry’s East Asian Affairs Department noted that both countries agreed not to separate the boundary disputes from the joint energy exploration. 

Thailand and Cambodia further agreed to strengthen security cooperation to maintain peace and stability along the Thai-Cambodian border. The two countries aim to jointly combat transnational crimes, including cyber scam networks. During the meeting, five memorandums were formalized, including an agreement between the Export-Import Bank of Thailand and the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce aimed at bolstering trade and investment ties. Additionally, discussions centered on the potential establishment of special economic zones along border areas to promote the linkage of supply chains in specific key industries including automotive, electronics, and medical devices. Both countries have pledged to progress on upgrading border-crossing checkpoints. 

Furthermore, both nations aspire to establish new diplomatic posts to assist travelers and businesses, with plans for a Thai consulate-general to be inaugurated in Siem Reap in 2024, reciprocated by Cambodia’s establishment of a consulate in the southern Thai province of Songkhla. 2025 will mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Cambodia. Both countries share an optimistic outlook for the future and will continue to meet and consult regularly.

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