S'pore ministers meet with Cambodian top brass, both countries reaffirm longstanding ties

They agreed that their wide-ranging cooperation has benefited both countries.

Kayla Wong| June 12, 07:07 PM

Singapore and Cambodia reaffirmed longstanding ties, and their wide-ranging cooperation that has benefited both countries and the region, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Tuesday, June 11.

MFA's statement was issued during Royal Cambodian Armed Forces' deputy commander-in-chief and commander of army Hun Manet's introductory visit to Singapore, from June 11 to 13.

Hun Manet is the eldest son of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

On Tuesday, he met Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

Good exchanges between both sides

Both Vivian and Teo took to Facebook to write about their successful meetings with Hun Manet.

Vivian said he had a good discussion with the Cambodian general on "the emerging security challenges in the region".

He added that both of them agreed it was important to cooperate "both bilaterally and within Asean to tackle these issues".

Likewise, Teo wrote that he had a good exchange with Hun Manet on "strengthening defence and military cooperation", adding that Cambodia was one of the first countries to recognise Singapore's independence in 1965.
Hun Manet will call on Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, as well as Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, on Wednesday, June 12.

Controversial FB post

Hun Manet's visit to Singapore comes days after Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh raised his objections to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's May 31 Facebook post that mentioned "Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia".

Shortly thereafter, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) expressed the same sentiments on June 4, and said that Vietnam regretted that PM Lee's statement did not "objectively reflect the historical truth."

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen also chimed in on June 6, accusing PM Lee of supporting the Cambodian genocide because of his comments.

Singapore's MFA then issued a press release on June 7 that sought to clarify the contents of PM Lee's Facebook post.

It did not use words like "invasion" and "occupation", but referred to the events of 1978 to 1989 as a "painful chapter of Indochina's history" instead.

In addition, it reiterated that PM Lee's statement reflects Singapore's "longstanding viewpoint" that was articulated many times before.

Related story:

Top image adapted via Vivian Balakrishnan/FB & Teo Chee Hean/FB