Prime Minister Reassures Cambodians in South Korea

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday used a speech in Phnom Penh to assure migrant workers and their families in South Korea that war would not occur on the Korean Peninsula.

“Believe me, the war in the Korean [Peninsula] will not happen,” Mr. Hun Sen said at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education. “The possibility of that happening is zero.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the final day of an annual Agriculture Ministry meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh earlier this month, in a photograph posted to his Facebook page.

Mr. Hun Sen’s remarks come amid heightened tension between South Korea and the North, which in recent months has tested several medium- and long-range ballistic missiles, a move that has drawn sharp rebuke from the U.N. Security Council and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The premier noted the difficulties of an evacuation, saying that transporting more than 40,000 workers from the country was “not an easy thing,” and that Cambodians working in South Korea would be safer staying in the country. He also said that if workers were evacuated, “all 40,000 jobs would be completely lost.”

The Korean Peninsula is officially in a state of war and has been since 1950, although an armistice was agreed to in 1953. The two countries are currently separated by a demilitarized zone.

Yim Sinorn, a CNRP youth official and migrant worker in South Korea, said that Cambodians in the country were better informed now than during previous times of heightened tension, and were therefore less concerned about the conflict.

“On the other hand,” he added, “the government seems not ready to rescue or evacuate our fellow citizens,” and instead sent Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng to inform workers of the updated situation.

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