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Cambodia Upholds Strong Bilateral Relations with China Amidst Leadership Transition

Phnom Penh, May 27, 2024 — In a formal session on Monday morning, the President of the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Techo Hun Sen, reaffirmed the steadfast nature of Cambodia's relationship with China, despite recent changes in the nation's leadership. The meeting, held as a courtesy call with His Excellency Wang Wentian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia, marked Ambassador Wang's farewell to the Senate in Phnom Penh.

President Hun Sen emphasized that while Cambodia has transitioned to a new Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, its foreign policy regarding China remains unchanged. He expressed hopes for the everlasting friendship between Cambodia and China, underscoring the enduring partnership both nations share.

During the meeting, President Hun Sen expressed both pleasure at meeting Ambassador Wang and regret at his departure after nearly six years of dedicated service. He commended Ambassador Wang for his substantial contributions to strengthening Cambodia-China relations, particularly during their collaborative efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Wang conveyed greetings from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang to President Hun Sen. He also congratulated the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) on its recent electoral successes, particularly in the Senate election in February, highlighting these achievements as evidence of the Cambodian people's trust in the CPP's leadership.

Highlighting the deep-rooted friendship between China and Cambodia, Ambassador Wang reflected on his tenure as a period of great honor. He noted his involvement in promoting Sino-Cambodian relations and participating in numerous historic events in Cambodia. He praised the leadership of former Prime Minister Hun Sen during the 6th legislature and new Prime Minister Hun Manet during the 7th legislature, which he credited with significant socio-economic development and enhanced well-being for the Cambodian people.

Ambassador Wang also underscored the milestone achievement in 2019 when China and Cambodia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on building a shared future with high-quality standards. He expressed his belief that China-Cambodia relations could serve as a model for new international relations.

Viewing Cambodia as a priority partner, China has committed to ongoing cooperation in various sectors, including the development of fish and rice corridors, industry, and technology, aimed at mutual benefit. Through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), significant projects such as the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, and the Siem Reap International Airport have been realized, alongside increased trade volume following the China-Cambodia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Ambassador Wang acknowledged Cambodia's successful hosting of international events such as the Asia-Europe Summit and the SEA Games, as well as the country's effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant support from China.

In his remarks, Ambassador Wang thanked the King and the Royal Government of Cambodia for maintaining a fair stance on critical issues like the South China Sea, Taiwan, and Xinjiang, which align with China-Cambodia and ASEAN-China interests. He expressed anticipation for President Hun Sen's upcoming visit to China, eagerly awaited by the Chinese people.

President Hun Sen, while acknowledging the difficulty of parting, reiterated the inseparable bond between Cambodia and China, emphasizing the mutual political trust that characterizes their relationship. He noted that China's assistance has not only facilitated Cambodia's socio-economic development but has also reinforced its political independence.

As Cambodia transitions to new leadership, the enduring friendship and strategic partnership with China remain pillars of stability and growth for both nations.

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