Cambodia marks 65th anniversary of close diplomatic ties with Hungary

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hungarian President Janos Ader (centre) paid a courtesy call on King Norodom Sihamoni in October 2019. ROYAL DU CAMBODGE

Cambodia and Hungary committed to forging stronger ties as the two countries celebrated the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations, with King Norodom Sihamoni saying he was looking forward to paying a state visit to Budapest at a suitable time.

King Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn sent separate letters to the Hungarian government and its embassy office in Phnom Penh to celebrate 65 years of friendship.

Cambodian-Hungary diplomatic relations were first established on September 20, 1956. They were interrupted for the period that the Khmer Rouge regime was in control of Cambodia from 1975-1979, but then resumed soon after the Khmer Rouge were driven from power.

In a letter dated September 10, King Sihamoni extended his warmest congratulations to Hungarian President Janos Ader and conveyed his wish for happiness, prosperity and wellbeing for the people of Hungary.

“The bonds of healthy friendship between the Kingdom of Cambodia and Hungary have been on a smooth path for decades even as both nations witnessed remarkable events with historical outcomes.

“Our countries and peoples’ cooperation have become ever closer in wide-ranging fields anchored by mutual political trust and support both regionally and globally, shared values and interests and mutual assistance.

“I look forward to making a state visit to your beautiful, prosperous and peaceful country once a suitable and convenient time can be determined taking into account the challenges related to Covid-19, which still poses a great threat and causes concern to all mankind and the world community at large,” the King wrote.

Hun Sen wrote a letter of congratulations to Prime Minister Viktor Orban on September 7, saying the bonds of friendship are based on mutual trust and close cooperation.

“We share a common perception about the challenges facing the international community today and have been rendering each other support in different forums.

“Recently, bilateral high-level contacts between our two countries have become a hallmark for the mutual political trust that characterise our relations,” Hun Sen said in the letter.

Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn also wrote a letter to his counterpart Peter Szijjarto on September 3, saying significant progress has been made in promoting economic, trade, education and agricultural fields to the mutual benefit of both countries and peoples.

Sokhonn said the government and the people of Cambodia were highly grateful for the invaluable assistance given by the Hungarian government immediately after the liberation of Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, as well as Hungary’s later participation in the peacekeeping operations under the framework of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

In November last year, Szijjarto visited Cambodia and the two countries signed three bilateral cooperation agreements on water management, agriculture and air services. The Office of the Hungarian Embassy in Phnom Penh was also officially reopened.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said ties between Cambodia and Hungary have a long history dating back to the Cold War-era.

He said the relations remained steady and stayed positive because the two nations respected their mutual interests and supported each other, including support for Cambodia by Hungary in the EU framework.

“But in the context of trade and economic exchange between the two countries, it is still far less than what both sides desire. People-to-people ties and tourism between the two nations are also limited,” Phea said.