Nepal Inks Investment Deals With Cambodia During PM Oli’s Visit

Nepal Cambodia relations
Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, shakes hands with his Cambodia's counterpart Hun Sen before a meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 13, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Samrang Pring)

Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli managed to secure two deals with Cambodia during his state visit, solidifying its bilateral cooperation with the Kingdom despite questions about the purpose of his visit.

According to Xinhua, a Cambodian senior official confirmed that two documents were inked on Monday in an agreement to enhance trade and investments between Cambodia and Nepal.

Minister Kao Kim Kourn, who is known for his connections with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, revealed that both parties agreed to increase exchange in culture, economics, and investments.

Nepal is a country recognized for its significantly small trade commitments with other nations. Last year, only 3,100 Nepalese tourists traveled to Cambodia and the figures are already a 10-percent hike on an annual basis.

Aside from signing deals with Cambodia, PM Oli also secured a number of agreements with the Vietnamese government during his visit to the country late last week. Nhan Dan reported that the deals included a framework agreement that both sides agreed to pursue in the coming months.

Oli and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held talks that focused on enhancing cultural and trade cooperation between the countries. Oli reportedly invited Phuc to make a state visit to Nepal in the near future.

Shortly after his state visit to Vietnam, Oli traveled to Cambodia for the first time. According to the Khmer Times, Hun Sen said he is expecting to see increased trade between the countries now that deals have been signed.

While Nepalese and Cambodian relations kicked off around six decades ago, the civil war created a barrier between the nations. In 1999, bilateral ties were reawakened and since then, the countries have tried to boost trade.

Ahead of Oli's state visits to Vietnam and Cambodia, some analysts questioned the Nepalese Prime Minister's purpose. Foreign policy analysts argued that Nepal is not particularly attached to the Vietnamese or Cambodian governments.

"I do not see any reason why the prime minister is visiting these two nations," director of the South Asian Studies, Nishchal Nath Pandey, told the Kathmandu Post, further explaining that Vietnam and Cambodia are known for "a lack of freedom."

Last week, Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali revealed a few details about Oli's Vietnam and Cambodia travels. He said the meetings are within the "high-level" range, adding that the visits will help Oli gauge the developments in previous cooperative agreements.

It has yet to be announced which country Oli will visit next but some analysts have predicted that he may be getting closer to China now that his administration has forged deals with Cambodia and Vietnam. 

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