North Korea has plans to build a large cultural center outside the famed temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodian officials confirmed Tuesday.
The agreement was made public after a meeting between Council Minister Sok An and a former ambassador from Pyongyang, Ri In-sok, last week.
“It shows a good relationship between Cambodia and North Korea,” said Ek Tha, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers. “It will help improve increasing tourism in Cambodia.”
Plans call for a 70-meter-by-124-meter edifice not far from the entrance to the temples. During their meeting, Sok An told North Korean diplomats that experts from both countries were working on the plans.
There are no firm dates yet for the beginning of construction, but according to planning documents, North Korean officials have already met with the Apsara Authority, which regulates the ancient temples.
Ek Tha said construction could begin early next year. However, Bun Narith, director-general for the Apsara Authority, said the proposal was still under review.
The discussions over the planned cultural center underscore the strong ties Cambodia retains with North Korea. This is a part of Cambodia’s “neutrality policy” when it comes to the two Koreas, said Lao Monghay, an independent political analyst.
Currently, the two countries are working to boost cooperation in agriculture and other industries, following agreements signed in July.