BANGKOK – Thailand and Cambodia entered into an agreement on Friday to establish a “sister cities” relationship between Phnom Penh and Bangkok in a bid to promote broader relations and cooperation.
The agreement was signed by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and visiting Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Kep Chuktema said the deal was a new step for Cambodian and Thai relations.
“It is an important foundation to enhance friendship relations and cooperation between Phnom Penh and Bangkok in particular and between Cambodia and Thailand in general,” he said.
The agreement will pave the way for the two cities to increase relationship and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, science, technology, education, culture, agriculture, tourism, health and human resources.
Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the agreement would make the peoples of the two cities come closer and create further possibilities for both sides to strengthen and expand bilateral ties and cooperation for mutual benefits.
“We are good neighbors, so we have to intensify our good cooperation,” he said.
The agreement came just more than a year after border conflicts between the two countries have calmed down.
The two neighbors have had sporadic border conflicts over territorial dispute near Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, but Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 square km of scrub next to the temple.
Fierce clashes between troops of the two countries occurred in February and April 2011 during Thailand’s Democrat Party rule.
However, the two nations have seen improving ties since August, 2011 when former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party won the general election and led the current government.