Japan and Cambodia on December 15 agreed to advance defence cooperation and upgrade bilateral relations to a strategic partnership, according to Kyodo news agency.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen witnessed the signing in Tokyo by the two defence ministers of a memorandum of understanding in bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges.

"We would like to strengthen tie-ups in addressing issues in the region and the international community," Abe told a press conference after his meeting with Hun Sen.

For his part, Hun Sen expressed support for Japan's call to hold a defence ministers meeting between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the meeting, Abe also pledged 13.8 billion JPY (133.7 million USD) in loan for three infrastructure projects in Cambodia.

The two PMs also agreed to start negotiations on a bilateral air agreement with a view to launching direct flights between the two countries.-VNA