The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) yesterday insisted it has received the green light from the Cambodian government to open a Taiwan trade center in Phnom Penh.
TAITRA, a non-profit trade promotion organization affiliated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, made the remarks in response to media reports that Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen would block the establishment of the office.
In a press statement, TAITRA said it has obtained a “certificate of incorporation” to set up an office in Phnom Penh, which will be registered as the “Branch of Taiwan Trade Center Inc.”
The certificate was issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, TAITRA said.
According to a report published yesterday by the English-language the Cambodia Daily, Hun Sen ordered the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get a local newspaper, Rasmei Kampuchea, to correct a front-page article lifted from the Taipei Times’ news Web site, which said the Cambodian government had approved TAITRA’s plan.
“This story is very sensitive for Cambodia’s foreign affairs policy which implemented the one China policy a long time ago,” Hun Sen was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying.
Cambodia’s official policy does not allow Taiwan to have offices in the country “in any circumstances,” the paper also quoted Hun Sen as saying.
“We do not authorize any [Taiwanese] national ceremonies or the raising of the flag of Taiwan on Cambodia’s land, even in hotels,” Hun Sen added.
“We especially do not allow this as Taiwan is just one province of China,” he told the daily, referring to TAITRA chairman Wang Chih-kang’s (王志剛) statement on Wednesday in Taipei that the center was expected to be officially launched in Phnom Penh next month.
Wang was unable to comment yesterday, but TAITRA issued a statement later yesterday after Wang had finished a meeting.
Wang’s announcement about the center was warmly welcomed by the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, with its director-general, Nguon Meng Tech, reportedly saying on Friday: “I have been waiting for a long time as I had suggested [the Taiwan trade center] to the former minister of commerce [Cham Prasidh] twice, but had no response.”
When asked about his views on Hun Sen’s remarks by the Cambodia Daily, Meng Tech declined to comment about political matters, but insisted that the opening of a Taiwanese trade center in Phnom Penh would be a valuable trade tool.
“Many Taiwanese companies go to invest in Vietnam and it brings in a lot of money, but Cambodia does not receive as much [investment] from Taiwan, that’s why I suggested to the government to have a trade center with Taiwan,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
An official at TAITRA who wished to remain anonymous told the Taipei Times yesterday that the trade organization has not received any information from their counterparts in Cambodia about the Phnom Penh government planning to rescind the certificate.
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