Joint Press Conference with the President of the Republic of Maldives [Unofficial Translation]

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cnv:

(1) The President of the Maldives Invited to Visit Cambodia

With efforts to further strengthen ties, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, cordial message and his invitation to His Excellency the President for a visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia and, if possible, we would like to invite (His Excellency) to visit Cambodia at the time that Cambodia celebrates the opening ceremony of the SEA Games in May of this year.

(2) To select and name a road in Sihanoukville “Cambodia-Maldives Friendship Road” in commemoration of the 28th anniversary of diplomatic relations

At the moment, His Excellency the President mentioned about the discussion (of both countries). I can highlight some more issues. On political tie, this year marks the 28th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two countries have agreed that (the Republic of Maldives) send its ambassador from Bangkok to Phnom Penh for a credential letter presentation, and Cambodia sends its ambassador down from New Delhi (India) for credential letter presentation in the Maldives. At the same time, in order to show our impression for the friendship between the two countries, Cambodia has decided to choose a road in the coastal tourist city of Cambodia, and name it the Cambodia-Maldives Friendship Street, to characterize our historical relationship, which starts here and now from my visit.

(3) Cambodia/Maldives Scholarships for Political Cooperation and Human Resource Training

I am thankful that the President has provided scholarships for Cambodian students, and training for Cambodian swimmers, along with 20 hospitality officials who will receive training for the promotion of tourism in Cambodia. I would take this opportunity to confirm that Cambodia has decided to provide 10 scholarships for Maldives students to study in higher education in Cambodia. While waiting to come here, I have already met the principal, who is now the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. The school is located in Phnom Penh and has connection with the United States (educational facilities). I would propose that (the scholarships) take place this year, with the possibility of exchanging students on both sides. It will be one of the starting points of our cooperation, both at the political level and at the human resource training level.

(4) Expanding cultural cooperation between the two countries

I also propose to examine the possibility of expanding cooperation in areas related to culture. It is hoped that the two foreign ministers will look into expanding the cultural coverage of the two countries. In terms of tourism, we are very strong. I should say that the Maldives is one of the wonders of the Indian Ocean with the most attractive tourist destinations and I am the last person in my family to visit the Maldives after my wife, my children and my grandchildren, who came before me. (Now) I’m here. Yesterday I posted on Facebook when I was diving, and people gave many likes and comments. I think (the Maldives) is an attractive place. We appreciate the effort to build this magnificent and attractive wonder in this ocean area.

(5) Joint travel package – one visa, two destinations

His Excellency (the President) and I have focused on promoting cooperation in tourism, not just Cambodians coming to the Maldives, or the Maldivians to Cambodia, but those who visit the temples in Cambodia can then come to the Maldives to dive and relax by the sea, or those who come to the Maldives to dive and relax here can proceed to visit the temples (in Cambodia). They can travel there. We can make it a joint travel package and can also use one VISA for two destinations, which we will learn about further.

(6) Cambodia has agricultural products and clothing to serve the needs of the Maldives.

We have the potential to expand trade between the two countries. Cambodia has goods such as rice and other agricultural sectors, hat can be imported not just for the Maldives but for the tourists visiting the Maldives. Cambodian rice has won number one rice in the world five times consecutively and we are still number one. Hopefully this rice will be popular both among the Maldivians and among the tourists who visit the Maldives. Cashews, bananas or others, even mango, can serve the tourism sector in the Maldives and can be exported from Cambodia. Apart from this, there are also clothes. We are a garment manufacturing country and the Maldives can express its purchasing interests.

(7) The Maldives’ canned fish may be the first goods to come to Cambodia

In return, although Cambodia is a country with both freshwater and marine water fish, it is not enough (for its constantly growing demand). Just now HE the Present mentioned about canned fish. It could be the first possible goods to export to Cambodia because Cambodia consumes a lot of canned fish every year. Just a few months ago, I used more than 100,000 cases of canned fish to supply families affected by floods. Eve now (Cambodia) is in need (of canned fish too). (Canned fish) is easy to distribute to the people. The first goods to import would probably be starting with canned fish, the product of the Maldives. We need canned fish not only for the 16 to 17 million Cambodia people, but millions of tourists – whom we have some 6.6 million arrivals before (this number) dropped (for Covid-19). By 2022, the number of tourists has picked up some 2.2 million arrivals. Therefore, it is clear that some fish products in the Maldives could be the target of export to Cambodia to serve both its own people and the tourism sector.

(8) Cambodia supports the Maldives as a party to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and an observer in the ASEAN framework

We also discussed other issues, including the health sector, which we have signed (the agreement of cooperation). We discussed mutually supportive international affairs, including Cambodia supporting the Maldives to become a party to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, as well as observers in Southeast Asia within the ASEAN framework, which is currently in the consultative stage within ASEAN. Hopefully other ASEAN countries will accept (the Maldives as) a partner without any reason to object. We draw distant countries from other continents to join us as partners, but we are also neighbors in this region.

(9) The Maldives to support Cambodia’s observatory membership in the OIC

I think my visit is an important opening in our relationship. I will not forget to thank the Maldives as is confirmed by the President. We want to become an observatory member of the OIC (organization of Islamic Cooperation) and hopefully we will be a key player in the harmonization of race and religion in Cambodia. I hope the Maldives will continue to support us in becoming an observatory member of the OIC.

I would like to thank the President (of the Republic of Maldives) again for his kind attention and warm welcome to my visit, and this is the best start (in the relationship between our two countries). Arriving in Cambodia, I will find a street to name it a Cambodia-Maldives friendship, and if at that time you would be able to make a visit, we could celebrate the inauguration of the street together. We will do this to symbolize the solidarity between Cambodia and the Maldives, which are both developing countries. Thank you for your attention to the President (of the Maldives) and all of you./.