PHNOM PENH — Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Cambodia on Jan 11, which is expected to further enhance bilateral ties between the two countries.
The year of 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia. Forged and cultivated by the two countries’ leaders over the past several decades, the friendship between the two countries has yielded fruitful outcomes in various fields.
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In 2016, President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to Cambodia, which took the China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level.
Since then, the relationship between the two countries has entered into a fast track of development.
In a signed article published on Jan 9 in the Khmer Times, a leading English-language newspaper in Cambodia, Premier Li said “I look forward to renewing China-Cambodia friendship during my upcoming official visit to Cambodia at the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen.”
Premier Li stressed that he expects stronger Lancang-Mekong cooperation and more progress in China-Cambodia relations.
The Premier attended the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders’ meeting on Jan 10.
The LMC comprises six countries, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Hailing the fruitful results in cooperation, Premier Li said in his signed article that the LMC has grown into a sub-regional cooperation framework with great potential and vitality. “(It) is not only conducive to narrowing the development gap within ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and advancing ASEAN integration, but also enriches South-South cooperation and efforts to foster a more open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization that benefits all.”
The friendly cooperation between China and Cambodia and within the LMC framework is oriented to promoting economic development, particularly to bettering people’s lives, Premier Li said.
“The great friendship spanning more than half a century between King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Chinese leaders has become a legend in the history of China-Cambodia and even international exchanges,” Premier Li said in his signed article.
“Today, the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, named in memory of the late King Father, is seeing booming growth, attracting more than 100 companies from China and other countries and creating nearly 20,000 jobs for the local community. Like many other collaborative projects between the two countries, it stands as a symbol of renewed China-Cambodia friendship by delivering real benefits to the people,” he said.
In December last year, China provided $7.3 million from the LMC Special Fund to Cambodia for carrying out a variety of projects, which cover such areas as agriculture, tourism, technology, public health, education, air inter-connectivity, cultural exchanges and so on.
According to Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo, as of October 2017, China has been the biggest source of foreign investment for Cambodia, with the agreed investment amount to Cambodia standing at $12.57 billion which accounts for 36.4 percent of the country’s total foreign investment.
The development of the bilateral ties has greatly contributed to the social and economic development of Cambodia.
Meanwhile, within the LMC mechanism, China and Cambodia have greatly contributed to the establishment of international law-enforcement cooperation in joint crackdown on cross-border crimes in the Lancang-Mekong area.
Since 2011, law-enforcement agencies of the six countries have pursued 65 joint patrols and four joint operations against drug trafficking, smashing 39,000 drug cases and rescuing 120 civilian vessels.
Originating from the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in Southwest China, the river is called the Lancang River in China and the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the sea.