Hun Sen, Chinese Premier reaffirm bilateral bonding

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) meets with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang virtually on November 15. SPM

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced that China will continue to provide Covid-19 vaccines as well as other medical assistance and trained medical personnel such as doctors to Cambodia for as long as the pandemic situation requires.

He also mentioned that the reopening of Chinese schools for the return of Cambodian students is currently under consideration.

Li made the announcement during a video conference with Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 15.

“China will continue to assist Cambodia by providing Covid-19 vaccines . . . as well as assistance related to the health and medical fields,” Hun Sen said in his Facebook post on November 15.

According to the prime minister, China will also provide 550 scholarships to Cambodian students for the 2022-2023 academic years.

Hun Sen also congratulated Li on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in July 2021 and praised the Chinese government and people for eradicating poverty in China. He also congratulated China on its 9.8 per cent economic growth in the first nine months of this year.

During the meeting, the two leaders also discussed bilateral relations and cooperation, regional and international cooperation, and economic, trade, agricultural and people-to-people connectivity issues.

Li said China would attend the Asia-Europe Summit hosted by Cambodia on November 25-26. China also promised to provide assistance when Cambodia takes over the rotating chair of ASEAN next year.

The Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed on November 16 that China and Cambodia remain committed to strengthening their comprehensive cooperation in all areas including development strategies.

Li was quoted on China’s CCTV on November 15 as saying that his government attaches great importance to strengthening relations with Cambodia and that China would continue to assist the Kingdom in continuing along a development path appropriate to its context.

“China is willing to provide support and assistance to Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19, rehabilitate their economy and improve the living standards of their people,” CCTV quoted Li as saying.

According to CCTV, Hun Sen extended thanks to China for its strong support and assistance in Cambodia’s socio-economic development, saying Cambodia hopes to strengthen cooperation in many fields like agriculture, infrastructure, public health, education and culture.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said this demonstrated the increasing depth of bilateral relations between the two countries.

“It also shows that – in terms of geopolitical competition – the US is busy imposing nonsense sanctions on Cambodian generals while China is strengthening its relationships here by sticking by its commitments to Cambodia. Cambodia’s bilateral relations with the US are like the polar opposite of our relationship with China,” he said.