HOR NAMHONG: His Excellency Bob Carr of Australia has chosen Cambodia as the first country to visit after assuming office as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia only a few days ago. I warmly welcome this visit to Cambodia and thank him deeply for choosing Cambodia as the first country to visit.
During our discussion we talked briefly about bilateral cooperation and I thanked the generous assistance from the Australian Government to the people of Cambodia such as improving resource development, sending over 400 Cambodian students and officials to study in Australia. Australia also sends Australian volunteers to help Cambodia in different fields. Australia also contributed to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
Australia also cooperates with Cambodia in military affairs. I inform His Excellency Carr that the political corporation between Cambodia and Australia is very good. However, relations in trade and economy between the two countries are not at the same level as the political co-operation and must be improved.
We also discuss on regional issues such as the democratisation in Myanmar. His Excellency Bob Carr and myself congratulate the positive change to reforms and the progress of the democratisation process in Myanmar. His Excellency Bob Carr told me that Australia is ready to roll back sanctions against Myanmar.
We also discussed disaster management which is a very grave issue as a result of the impact of climate change. This issue concerns all countries in the world. We agreed that at the East Asia Summit, disaster management will be an important issue of the discussion agenda. I request Australia to extend more help to the ASEAN Centre for Co-ordinating Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre). In order to address the impact of climate change, I told His Excellency Bob Carr that disaster issues were very sensitive for ASEAN, especially for countries along the Mekong River, which are very vulnerable to disasters due to climate change, for example the floods last year which impacted greatly in Thailand.
We also discussed the South China Sea issue. I informed His Excellency Bob Carr that we should encourage China and ASEAN to discuss on the key elements of the draft Code of Conduct of the South China Sea (COC). China wishes to join ASEAN in discussing the key elements and we should encourage China to do so. I inform His Excellency Bob Carr that China wishes to establish appoint eminent person to draft the COC, the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. I inform His Excellency Bob Carr that we should not internationalise the issues of South China Sea because this will complicate the issue and it does not serve any country's interests.
I would now like to give the floor to His Excellency Bob Carr.
BOB CARR: Your Excellency, it's been a great honour for me to make my first visit as Australia's Foreign Minister to Cambodia. Cambodia is a country that has engaged my interest and my imagination since I was a student in the late 1960s. And yesterday, visiting the greater Angkor heritage area, I was reminded of what Cambodia symbolises for world civilization.
It was an honour to have a discussion with you, Your Excellency. You've been foreign minister for as many years as I've been foreign minister for days. And I've learnt a great deal from our discussions.
Australia is a close and outstanding friend of Cambodia. Our relationship goes back to the 1950s. This evening I'll be talking to Australian business people and I'll urge them to work on ways of building the trade and investment relationship that can match our political cooperation.
I am proud of Australia's development assistance program, with $77 million allocated in 2011–12, focused on agricultural development, health services, infrastructure and access to justice.
On Myanmar, we are committed to peeling back the sanctions that apply to the government after consultation with the opposition in Myanmar. We want to withdraw sanctions, stage by stage as the government of Myanmar introduces democracy stage by stage. Each removal of sanctions will be after consultation with the opposition in that country, but we congratulate Cambodia on its approach as Chair of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit and in this context, hearing your views on Myanmar were very valuable.
On the forthcoming East Asia Summit, I emphasised Australia's strong interest in its developing agenda and the importance of substantial and interactive discussions.
Finally, Your Excellency, I support your views on climate change and Australia is strongly committed to working with you to see that we have the best disaster management plans in place to enable us to cope with the floods and the other natural calamities that can occur as a result of a change in the earth's climate.
QUESTION: I have a question about the news on an Australian website. It says a nephew of Samdech Hun Sen has been linked with drug trafficking and money laundering in Australia. Can you confirm or dismiss?
BOB CARR: I cannot confirm that news and I wouldn't comment in any case on a law enforcement matter.
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