PHNOM PENH: On 7 November, Foreign Affairs Minister Sok Chenda Sophea met with Lou Qinjian, Member of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress and Chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee.
This year, the two countries are celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations, having named 2024 as Cambodia-China Friendship Year.
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening the "Diamond Cooperation" framework established earlier this year with six priority areas: Political cooperation, production capacity and quality, agriculture, energy, security, and people-to people exchanges. They noted with satisfaction the remarkable progress of Cambodia-China relations and commended the frequent high-level exchanges of visits between legislative and executive institutions of the two countries.
The Chinese diplomat congratulated Cambodia for successfully organizing the general election and smoothly forming the National Assembly and new administration this year. He expressed his confidence that Cambodia would continue to accomplish greater achievements under the wise leadership of Prime Minister Hun Manet.
Cambodia’s Foreign Affairs Minister reaffirmed the government line that high voter turnout in July was a result of people's confidence in the government's effective control of COVID-19 and improved living standards. He also praised the results of loans from China’s Belt and Road Initiative to build Cambodian infrastructure like the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway and the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, which will be owned by Chinese businesses for the next 55 years.
Both sides stressed the importance of promoting increased Chinese investment in Cambodia, particularly the commitment to transform Preah Sihanouk Province into a model multi-purposed special economic zone. This week Prime Minister Hun Manet promised thousands of factory workers that Sihanoukville will become the richest province in Cambodia with continued development.
The two sides exchanged views on propelling the Year of People-to-People Exchange in 2024 into a productive year with concrete outcomes by attracting additional Chinese tourists and more direct flights from China to Cambodia, particularly in Siem Reap.
Both sides underscored the importance of effectively implementing the strategic consensus between leaders, including the establishment of the "Industrial and Technological Corridor" and the "Fish and Rice Corridor."