Cambodia Welcomes German President for Historic First Official Visit

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) meeting Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace on Thursday. Photo Credit: Khmer Times

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and First Lady Elke Büdenbender arrived on Tuesday for their three-day official visit to the country. This is the first time that a President of Germany has come to Cambodia on an official trip. 

President Steinmeier’s visit is part of an Indo-Pacific tour that is aimed at enhancing political and economic ties with Southeast Asia and also broadening German-Cambodian relations beyond the current ties that focus on cultural, educational, and agricultural exchanges.

The President visited the Siem Reap province on his first day, where he was updated about the mine clearance initiatives supported by Germany and the restoration work at the Angkor Wat temple complex, whose staff was trained by a German team.

The German Head of State came to Phnom Penh on Wednesday where he met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen whom he thanked for his warm hospitality and expressed his honor of being the first President of Germany to visit the nation.

He also congratulated PM Hun Sen for his efforts in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and his effective leadership during the 2023 ASEAN Summit that took place in Cambodia.

Eang Sophalleth, an assistant to the Prime Minister said, “President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also expressed his country’s intention to expand cooperation with Cambodia, especially in the field of climate change.”

The two leaders also spoke about the ongoing demining efforts and President Steinmeier assured of continued support in this area in the future so that Cambodian people are safely able to use their land.

“Samdech Prime Minister told President Frank-Walter Steinmeier that Cambodia is committed to removing all landmines from its land while also providing humanitarian aid through joining demining actions in other countries,” Sophalleth said, as Cambodia is now training staff from Ukraine to remove UXOs that are rampant due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

With Germany being the largest trading partner of Cambodia among other EU member countries, and two-way trade increasing by 4% between 2019 and 2022, the President urged that both countries should continue working together to boost their bilateral cooperation in climate change, energy, and areas of trade and investment.

President Steinmeier and his delegation left for Malaysia on Friday morning to continue his official visit to the region.