BILATERAL MEETING. Officials of the Philippine and Cambodian governments led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Prime Minister Hun Sen, respectively, hold a bilateral meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Thursday (Nov. 10, 2022). Marcos' meeting with the Cambodian leader came a day before the formal opening of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits hosted by Cambodia. (Screenshot from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen have expressed intent to further deepen the ties between the Philippines and Cambodia by exploring possible cooperation in various fields, including digital transformation.

This developed after Marcos held Thursday a bilateral meeting with Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

"They (Marcos and Hun Sen) committed to expanding the extent of the two countries' productive partnership over the last 65 years and exploring partnerships in a wide range of areas, including digitalization, health services, logistics, and assisting small business," Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said in a press statement.

The Philippines and Cambodia established their formal diplomatic relations on Aug. 20, 1957.

In 2016, cooperation agreements in the areas of labor, sports, combating transnational crimes and tourism were signed during the state visit of former president Rodrigo Duterte to Cambodia.

Marcos' meeting with Hun Sen came a day before the formal opening of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits hosted by Cambodia.

Apart from the plan to explore new partnerships, Marcos and Hun Sen also discussed the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, one of the ASEAN member-states.

During the bilateral meeting, Marcos raised the need to examine the "dynamics" of politics in Myanmar, while engaging with the country "in every way possible," Garafil said.

Marcos and Hun Sen also agreed that "patience" is key to dealing with the Myanmar crisis.

"Mr. Prime Minister, as you have great experience in this matter, perhaps your advice to be patient, is the best that we can do right now," Marcos, as quoted by the OPS, told Hun Sen during the bilateral meeting.

"But we can still do more in terms of engagement in Myanmar. I'm in full agreement with you, Mr. Prime Minister, that that is the way forward," he added.

The ongoing crisis in Myanmar tops the agenda of this year's ASEAN summits.

In April 2021, ASEAN member-states, which included Myanmar, agreed on a peace plan dubbed as "five-point consensus," which calls for an immediate end to violence in the country and seeks dialogue between the military and the opposition movement.

After the military coup in 2021 that overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, widespread unrest has been reported in the junta-led nation as civilians denounced the military rule.

Marcos and Hun Sen also had a lengthy discussion about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Garafil said. (PNA)