PM, China’s Wang open stadium, renew vows

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (left) at the Morodok Techo National Stadium on Sunday. AKP

Cambodia and China vowed to continue to advance their friendly relationship with a new stadium constructed through a Chinese grant now completed in advance of the Kingdom hosting the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.

The opening ceremony for the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh was attended by Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen who said it was no mistake to continue to push Cambodia’s friendship with China forward.

Wang is on a two-day visit to Cambodia as part of a four-country tour that also includes Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea.

“These are just the early fruits harvested during this season of growth for the ‘ironclad’ Cambodia-China relationship, as coined by President Xi Jinping,” Hun Sen said.

He further said the friendship between the two countries will be everlasting and Cambodia will always support the “One China” policy, referring to China’s stance on issues it says are related to maintaining its territorial integrity.

Hun Sen said Cambodia’s ironclad friendship with China was part of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“It is the unwavering political trust between the two countries, no matter how much pressure has been applied by this person or from that person. We are not swinging to-and-fro according to anyone else’s threats or persuasions. We have to trust and be honest with each other,” he stressed.

Hun Sen reiterated that aside from China, he did not know who else Cambodia could be expected to rely upon, noting that more than 2,000km of roads within Cambodia and connecting Cambodia to neighbouring countries have been constructed using China’s financial support.

“Did I make a mistake by communicating with China and bringing back these great achievements? This is just one of hundreds of achievements...

“Even now, without Chinese support would you all have been vaccinated?” he asked, adding that without Chinese vaccines, Cambodia would only have vaccinated around two million people total by now, but with Chinese jabs the nation has inoculated around 11.5 million people.

Hun Sen said the mutual relations should not be seen as Cambodia leaning on China as the Kingdom accepts aid from all countries.

Cambodia never rejects any assistance and never considers any country as its enemy, he said.

Wang said at the ceremony that the completion of the stadium marked a historic moment in the China-Cambodia friendship and that China provided financial support for the Kingdom because it is China’s closest friend.

He said China will continue to help Cambodia and the people on their path of development and continue to improve Cambodian livelihoods in the future as the relations between the two countries moves steadily forward.

“I believe that through these efforts our two countries will both grow stronger. It is my wish that the friendship between China and Cambodia be sustained forever,” he said.

The Morodok Techo National Stadium was constructed with funding by China’s financial grant of $150 million. The stadium has a seating capacity of 60,000 and comes equipped with the latest technologies.

That includes technologies and planning allowing for the facility to be evacuated in just seven minutes time in case of an emergency, according to Minster of Tourism Thong Khon, who spoke about the stadium’s design and construction at the ceremony.