PHNOM PENH, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian foreign minister Hor Namhong left Phnom Penh on Sunday for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in a mission to boost bilateral ties and lobby the country to return to the long-stalled six-party talks.
"The visit is to strengthen and expand bilateral relationship between Cambodia and the DPRK," Hor Namhong told reporters at the Phnom Penh International Airport before his departure.
As Cambodia is the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, the visit is also aimed at boosting cooperation between Northeast Asia and ASEAN, he said.
Ouch Borith, secretary of state at the Foreign Ministry, has told reporters on May 25 that Hor Namhong's visit was to lobby the DPRK to return to the negotiation table.
"We want the DPRK to abandon the nuclear weapons program and long range missile test, which is prohibited by the United Nations Security Council," he said.
At the airport on Sunday, Hor Namhong shortly said that " Cambodia always supports the resumption of the six-party talks."
During the 3-day working visit in the DPRK, Hor Namhong will hold bilateral talks with DPRK's foreign minister Pak Ui Chun and pay a courtesy call on Kim Yong-nam, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, according to a press release of Cambodia's foreign ministry.
The six-party talks began in August 2003 as a platform focusing on DPRK's nuclear weapons program and were halted since April, 2009 when DPRK announced that it would no longer take part in the talks in a reaction to the international condemnation of its long range missile test.
The countries directly involved in the six-party talks are South Korea, the DPRK, China, the United States, Japan and Russia.