All these years since the resumption of diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1997, the Republic of Korea has been favored with wonderful ambassadors from the country. However, this year it appears that Korea greets one of the most wonderful ambassadors.
The ambassador, Madam Chring Botum Rangsay, spoke the English language in a manner which no one could really tell apart from that used by Britons or Americans.
With the new ambassador from Cambodia, it appears that the two countries are now in for a one-notch upgraded level of relations, cooperation and friendship.
At an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media (publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean news publications since 1985) on Oct. 26, 2021, Ambassador Chring disclosed that following the signing of free trade agreement (FTA) between Korea and Cambodia, the Cambodian Embassy planned to cohost a business investment event in Seoul in early December with the participation of economy- and business-related ministers of Cambodia.
Then she said, “Korea and Cambodia officially signed the FTA today in a move to deepen their economic ties.”
Related to this, she said, “We are in negotiation with Cambodian ministers in charge of commerce, development and overseas investment, and senior officials of the Cambodian Commerce and Industry to cohost the business investment forum in Seoul.”
“Through the economy-diplomacy coordination event, we hope to promote bilateral trade and accelerate mutual investment between Korea and Cambodia,” she said.
The FTA signing between the two countries was made between Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo and his Cambodian counterpart, Pan Sorasak, at an online meeting held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Oct. 26.
The following are excerpts from the interview with Ambassador Chring:
Question: Would you introduce yourself in detail, including your career?
Answer: I was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. I started my first government job in 2012 as a provincial coordinator for land integration, and held the undersecretary of state post for the telecoms and foreign ministries. In the United Kingdom, I majored in business international affairs.
Q: Would you comment on the future prospects of the bilateral trade between Korea and Cambodia following the FTA signing?
A: The FTA conclusion will give good opportunities for Korea and Cambodia to promote trade and investment and to strengthen the two countries’ value chain, as Cambodia bears great economic growth potential.
It will also provide new investment laws and regulations to accelerate bilateral trade between the two countries. At the same time, Korea and Cambodia can get chances to complement each other in trade, financial and investment sectors.
Q: What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?
A: Cambodia is very competitive in textile, footwear and garment industries. We export such products to European countries and the United States.
At the same time, we know that Korea is famous for auto and auto parts manufacturing so that we hope that Korean companies make active investments in auto assembly lines in Cambodia.
Q: What are your competitive products and services attractive to Korea?
A: Among our competitive products are agricultural goods such as fruits and vegetables. Regardless of season, hot summer or cold winter in Korea, we can provide fresh fruits and vegetables.
As far as I know, there are some 50,000 Cambodian workers in Korea. They are hard-working and dedicated workers.
In addition, Cambodia has many attractive tourist spots. For instance, in the early 2000 before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean tourists captured the No. 1 position in the number of foreign tourist visitors to Cambodia.
Q: Which Korean companies are contributing most to promote bilateral business cooperation between the two countries?
A: In Cambodia, Booyoung is the most active in the construction sector and KB Finance is operating in the banking sector. Hyundai is also building factories and some Korean companies are participating in the Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects.
Curriculum vitae of Ambassador Chring Botumrangsay in Seoul
Full name: Chring Botumrangsay
Date of birth: December 2, 1983
Place of birth: Kampong Thom Province, Kingdom of Cambodia
Marital status: Single
2008: Master of arts in international business management at Westminster
University, London, United Kingdom
2005: Bachelor of business, sub-major in financial management and banking at University of Western Sydney, Australia
2001: Higher School Certificate at Sir Joseph Banks High School, Sydney, Australia
2016: 9th Leaders in governance Programme at Civil Service College, Singapore
2016: Woman in Leadership Training at Royal School of administration, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Sep 2021 to date: Ambassador of Kingdom of Cambodia to the Republic of Korea
Dec 2020-Sep 2021: Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation of Cambodia (MFAIC):
May 2019-Dec 2020: Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia (MFAIC)
Sept 2013-May 2019: Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Cambodia (MPTC)
2012-2013: Centre Manager, FTMS Global Academy, Cambodia
2012-2013: Provincial’s Coordinator (Kampot province) for Regulation BB01 on land integration by the Royal Government of Cambodia
2011: Project consultant, Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), Phnom
Jan 2009-2011: Marketing manager and General manager, Uniebiz (Cambodia)
Co., Ltd., Cambodia
Sept 2006-July 2007: Freelance consultant, NGOs, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
May 2006-July 2007: Consultant, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Dec 2005-Mar 2006: Meeting Coordinator, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Dec 2003-Feb 2004: Project assistant, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Phnompen, Cambodia
2019: Royal Order of Monisaraphon, Grand-cross
2016: Royal Order of Cambodia, Grand-Cross
2016: Royal Order of Cambodia, Commander
2010: Royal Order of Monisaraphon, Commander
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s great achievements:
Prime Minister Hun Sen was born in a rural area in Kampong Cham province in 1952 amidst the Cold War and the First Indochina War. It was a period of complex political upheaval, widespread insecurity, and violent armed conflicts in the region. As the Cold War was intensifying in Southeast Asia and the Second Indochina War was engulfing Cambodia causing political instability and armed conflicts, culminating in a coup d’état overthrowing Prince Norodom Sihanouk from power, the young Hun Sen witnessed people’s dream, happiness and opportunities were abruptly ended and swallowed by the war. Witnessing the damages, disruptions, and suffering inflicted by the war upon the Cambodian people, the young Hun Sen, who was studying at Indra Devi Secondary School in Phnom Penh, devoted his life to searching for peace. He gave up his study and youth time and fled to the jungle to join Cambodia’s revolutionary force, hoping that they would restore peace and 3 safeguard the country and the people when they came to power. That horrible and frustrating experience shaped Hun Sen’s worldview about the significance of peace for humanity and triggered his long quest for peace and national reconciliation in Cambodia.
On 7 January 1979, Cambodian liberation forces backed by the Vietnamese military marched into Phnom Penh and ousted Pol Pot from power. Hun Sen became one of the top leaders of a new government in Phnom Penh named the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). He held the positions of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. He was voted Prime Minister by his party in 1985. Since the victory and throughout the 1980s, the leader worked extremely hard to prevent Pol Pot from returning to power, rebuild the country’s infrastructure and economy, and restore normalcy to social life, such as allowing freedom of religion, tradition, and cultural practices.
He began a peace negotiation with Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1987, and the subsequent meetings between him, the prince and the leaders of other Cambodia’s warring factions led to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement on 23rd October 1991 and the first general elections were administered by UNTAC in 1993. Despite the elections, Cambodia was still at war because Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge did not participate in the elections and was still carrying out attacks from their bases along the Cambodia-Thailand border.
Prime Minister Hun Sen is a highly capable architect of peace and national reconciliation, emerging from being a victim of war to solving successfully one of the world’s most complex and longest wars, he managed to achieve total peace for Cambodia in 1998 through a highly innovative and inclusive peace and conflict resolution approach, the Win-Win Policy. This policy allows Cambodia, for the first time after Angkor, to have a unified state, exercising its effective control over the whole population and territory under its sovereignty and jurisdiction. Moreover, the Win-Win Policy is a highly innovative and inclusive approach to peacebuilding and national reconciliation, creating a foundation that sustains long-lasting peace, harmony and national unity.
Some of his other significant achievements include:
Democratic and multi-party system: Aware of the significance of the democratic system for consolidating peace, Prime Minister Hun Sen is a promoter and ardent defender of the multi-party system. Cambodia has held regular elections every five years since 1993. Moreover, Cambodia’s success in holding regular elections has been applauded by the international community. US democrat Representative Stephen Solarz called Cambodia’s successful elections a “Miracle on the Mekong”.
Legal reforms and strengthening the rule of law:
Legal reforms and strengthening the rule of law is another major front the prime minister has focused on for durable peace and public security in Cambodia. In 1999, Prime Minister Hun Sen launched a government campaign to collect guns from across Cambodia and destroyed them. The government also enacted a law making it illegal for civilians to possess firearms or anyone to carry them without authorisation. His government has also focused on combating crimes and drug smuggling and embarking on a campaign to ensure security and safety for local villages. As a result, the crime rates have dropped significantly, and security and safety in Cambodia have improved significantly.
Public infrastructure, economic development and poverty reduction: Prime Minister Hun Sen has worked hard to improve the country’s public infrastructure, develop the economy, and significantly reduce the poverty rate. During different mandates, his government focused on different priorities: “water and irrigation system”, “roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals”, “electricity”, etc. Under Prime Minister Hun Sen’s leadership, Cambodia has a robust economic base and a strong annual economic growth of over 7 per cent for the last two decades, making it possible for the emergence and expansion of the middle class and working class in an increasingly sophisticated modern urban economy.
Inclusive society and freedom of religion: The prime minister has worked hard to make sure that no one or group is left behind or discriminated against. Through his actions and inspiration and state policies, he promotes inclusiveness, tolerance, and harmony between and among all social groups in Cambodia. He promotes gender equality and the important roles of women in politics, society, and the economy. He upholds fair treatment of people of different ethnic groups and the rights of indigenous minorities. He is a defender of the right to freedom of religion, making Cambodia the most democratic society in the region in freedom of religion.
Good neighbourhood diplomacy and making friends abroad: Prime Minister Hun Sen understands well that to sustain peace in Cambodia, the country needs to have good relations with neighbours and with all countries all over the world. He has worked hard to promote Cambodia’s integration into the international community by joining ASEAN in 1999 and the WTO in 2004. He supports ASEAN centrality, multilateralism, and a rules-based international order. Prime Minister Hun Sen also initiated the establishment of the Greater Mekong Subregion in 1992 and the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area (CLV-DTA) in 1999 to enhance economic development cooperation among countries along the Mekong River.
Prime Minister Hun Sen believes that living in peace is a fundamental right of all people in the world. Therefore, he shares the fruits of peace in Cambodia with the world. His government has so far committed more than 7,000 soldiers, some of whom are females, to the UN peacekeeping, humanitarian and demining missions in the Middle East and Africa.
Moreover, he has made several major contributions to international achievements.
First, he helped end the war in the Mekong and ASEAN and realise the dream of the ASEAN founders that one day all the ten countries in Southeast Asia would become members of ASEAN. Second, he has supported and promoted cooperation between the Mekong region and major development partners.
Currently, there are 9 cooperation frameworks between Mekong countries with major development partners, including Australia, China, India, Japan, South 7 Korea, the US, the EU, and the ADB. These cooperation frameworks are intended to promote sustainable development and socio-economic development, narrow the development gap among Mekong countries, support the ASEAN community building, and to jointly solve pressing challenges facing the region. Third, he promotes regional and international cooperation for regional and global peace and progress, multilateralism, and the respect for international law through Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2002, 2012, and 2022, and through Cambodia’s host of ASEM in 2021. Fourth, he has been actively assisting the peace and reconciliation efforts in Myanmar and on the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, the prime minister promotes international cooperation for peace by participated actively in various international peace forums and peace initiatives, including those organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). His contributions to humanity have been widely recognised. He has received numerous prestigious awards and honorary doctoral degrees from universities around the world