China signs 19 new deals with Cambodia

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (left) shakes hands with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen (right). The two countries agreed 19 deals at the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation meeting in Phnom Penh this morning, including a program called “Love Heart Journey”, which will provide surgery for heart disease patients.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (left) shakes hands with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen (centre). The two countries agreed 19 deals at the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation meeting in Phnom Penh this morning, including a program called “Love Heart Journey”, which will provide surgery for heart disease patients. Hong Menea

China has signed 19 fresh memorandums of understanding and other agreements with Cambodia, appearing to further cement the superpower’s support for the Kingdom in the lead-up to controversial upcoming national elections later this year.

The slew of agreements were inked on the sidelines of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation meeting between China, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

 

Among the infrastructure promises are the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway, two electricity transmission projects, a new Phnom Penh airport and the establishment of a breeding centre for luxury wood tree species, according to a joint communiqué issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Another agreement signals the launch of a program called “Love Heart Journey”, which will provide surgery for heart disease patients, according to visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

 

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) walks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) for a signing ceremony at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh this morning.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) walks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) for a signing ceremony at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh this morning. Hong Menea

“The visit achieved full success and vigorously pushed forward the Cambodia-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation,” the communiqué reads. “The Cambodian side reaffirmed its resolute adherence to the One-China policy, and its support to the Chinese government’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“Both sides expressed satisfaction for the stable and continuous sound momentum of the situation in the South China Sea,” it adds. “Cambodia-China traditional friendship had been carried forward and enhanced.”

View the full list of deals: In English | In Khmer

In the private sector, controversial businessman Kith Meng, of the Royal Group, signed a “framework agreement” with the China Great Wall Industry Corporation for a Communication Satellite Program.

The National Police last year accused Meng's company of being involved in illegal timber transporting, before swiftly pulling the accusation from their website.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also held private meetings with his Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting.

Updates to follow.