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Japan, Cambodia vow to keep supporting Ukrainian demining efforts

Japanese and Cambodian foreign ministers agreed Tuesday that their countries will continue to cooperate in supporting the elimination of Russian landmines and unexploded bombs in Ukraine amid Moscow’s prolonged war in the Eastern European state.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said after a meeting with his Cambodian counterpart, Prak Sokhonn, in Tokyo that they also pledged to further promote ties between Japan and Cambodia as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi (R) and his Cambodian counterpart, Prak Sokhonn, hold a joint press conference after their talks in Tokyo on Jan. 24, 2023. (Kyodo)

The two governments announced last week that they have begun providing training to Ukrainian officials for clearing landmines laid by Russia, which launched its attack on Ukraine in February.

Japan has contributed to demining efforts in Cambodia, where millions of landmines are believed to have been laid during the 1970-1991 civil war in the Southeast Asian country.

“The two nations have fostered a strong relationship of trust through peacebuilding, reconstruction and development work in Cambodia,” Hayashi said, welcoming a “further expansion” of collaboration fields.

Sokhonn, who doubles as deputy prime minister, said Cambodia supports the Japanese government’s National Security Strategy, which was updated last month.

The new long-term policy guidelines stipulate Japan’s acquisition of enemy base strike capabilities, in a major shift in its exclusively defense-oriented policy under the pacifist Constitution.

The two ministers also exchanged views on North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and the security situation in the East and South China seas, where China has been increasing military activities, according to Hayashi.

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