Cambodia-China relations have been strengthened in the BRI

Samdek aka Mokha Sena Padei Deko Han Sen (China Daily) 08:47, August 17, 2023

Song Chen/China Daily

Cambodia and China have enjoyed a close, friendly and long-standing relationship that began and was officially established in 1958. This relationship has been nurtured by successive generations of leaders to the present day. This historic bond has grown from strength to strength and evolved into an ironclad friendship. I can firmly confirm that Cambodia-China relations are built on a foundation of deep political trust and driven by a deep sense of mutual respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.

For our part, the Royal Government of Cambodia has always adhered to the one-China policy and has supported China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative from the beginning, which has brought many benefits to Cambodia and helped it pursue its own development path. suited to its national characteristics.

A little over a decade ago, this traditional bond was elevated to its highest level, a „comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation” where active dialogue is pursued at all levels, from top to grassroots levels. Cambodia expresses its gratitude to His Majesty Pre Pad Sumtek Preah Boromneet Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia and Her Majesty the Queen Mother Norodom Monineth Sihanouk for the care and hospitality extended to them during their visit to the People’s Republic of China. I am proud to extend its warm welcome to the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, during his official visit to Cambodia in October 2016. There have also been several high-level visits, including the recent visit by His Excellency Li. Keqiang, the then Premier of China, attended the 40-41st ASEAN Summits and related conferences in Phnom Penh. Of late, I have also led a high-level delegation to pay an official visit to China in February 2023.

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Our friendship transcends time and space through good and hard times. When China was hit by the Covid-19 crisis, I made a surprise visit to Beijing in early 2020 to demonstrate Cambodia’s support, solidarity and confidence in the Chinese government’s ability to fight the outbreak. In response, China was the first country to provide us with Covid-19 vaccines and medical equipment, as well as sending Chinese medical experts to Cambodia.

In terms of trade and economy, China is currently Cambodia’s main trading partner, a major driver of foreign investment and a major contributor of development assistance. Cambodia has signed its first free trade agreement with China, greatly enhancing our economic, trade and investment cooperation. This FTA has opened new market access for many new Cambodian exports to the Chinese market. In fact, the volume of bilateral trade in 2022 exceeded the target of 10 billion dollars in 2023.

In terms of development assistance, China’s BRI is the largest source of aid for Cambodia’s physical infrastructure development, which is the backbone of our economic growth and national development, both of which act as a key catalyst for improving the livelihoods of our people. To date, China has assisted in the construction of more than 10 bridges and 30 national highways with a total length of 3,000 kilometers. At the same time, many outstanding achievements have emerged, including the Chinese government-assisted Morodok Teko National Stadium, the Cambodia-China Friendship Tbong Kham Hospital, and the China-assisted medical building at the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital. , all of which have contributed greatly to Cambodia’s socio-economic development and the well-being of the Cambodian people.

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Cooperation has seen significant progress in the fields of education, culture, health, tourism, agriculture and innovation. Cambodia will continue to work closely with China to fulfill the diamond cooperation that His Excellency Xi Jinping and I embarked on during my last visit earlier this year. Declaring 2023 as the Year of Cambodia-China Friendship, we have planned 50 proposed commemorative activities to promote Cambodia-China relations to commemorate the 65th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

As the world faces increasing global uncertainty, where protectionism and unilateralism continue to permeate, and the prospect of a global economic crisis looms, the BRI will be a useful platform to strengthen connectivity and promote shared development, especially in the post-pandemic era. With great support from more than 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations, the BRI has certainly achieved its due recognition from the international community. Cambodia will continue to show its unwavering support for the BRI, whose key concepts are in line with our National Strategic Development Plan and Rectangular Strategy Phase IV.

Since the signing of the „Outline of the Bilateral Cooperation Plan to Jointly Build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” on May 16, 2017, we have many great achievements to show the world, from building the new Seam. Development of Reap International Airport, Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone and Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, His Excellency Li Keqiang and I presided over its official opening ceremony in November 2022. Also, the groundbreaking ceremony of the Phnom Penh-Pavet Expressway was held. Also held on June 7, 2023.

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by His Excellency President Xi Jinping in 2013. I eagerly welcome and support China’s hosting of the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation later this year. I am confident that the upcoming event will be an important platform for many leaders from large and small countries to exchange their experiences in implementing this great initiative that will bring about shared growth, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond.

The author is the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Views do not necessarily represent those of China Daily.

(Web Editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)

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