Cambodia and Nepal are discussing joint steps to promote direct flights between the countries and to open the embassies in their capitals in order to strengthen bilateral cooperation, a government spokesperson said.
Nepal’s Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli is on an official three-day visit to Cambodia this week and held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Together they also addressed a Cambodia-Nepal Business Forum in Phnom Penh, which was attended by businesses representatives from the two countries, and they urged greater trade and investment between their nations.
Council of Ministers spokesperson Phay Siphan said the meetings had resulted in a commitment to try to establish direct flights between the countries and to open embassies, though he could not confirm when either of the plans would be implemented.
“Diplomatic work is good communication and international cooperation. And in principle, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has been integrating with the region as well as other countries around the world,” he said, using the premier’s full honorific titles.
Cambodia and Nepal established diplomatic relationship began in 1964. During Cambodia’s decades of civil war, relations were cut starting in mid-1970s only to be reestablished in 1999.
Chheang Vannarith, president of the Asian Vision Institute in Phnom Penh, said the countries could test whether there was enough demand for a direct flight, though he added that daily flights were unlikely to be feasible.
He said the opening of embassies would help strengthen trade and investment, and cultural exchange, while smaller countries such as Nepal and Cambodia can also benefit from greater diplomatic cooperation in the international arena.
Trade between the countries remains very small, however. From 2014 until the first six months of 2018, bilateral trade between the two countries totaled just $170,000, according to Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce figures. Like Cambodia, international tourism is a major industry in Nepal, but the Himalayan country lacks large garment or manufacturing industries.