17 January 2018

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New economic agreements with Beijing: Phnom Penh increasingly distant from the West

The two countries are linked by a solid political, economic and military understanding. China provides loans for the construction of an airport and a motorway. Bilateral trade between the two countries will reach $ 6 billion by 2020. 

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Cambodia and China today signed 19 new economic agreements, strengthening the close relations between the two countries. Beijing is committed to providing aid and investment in neighboring Southeast Asia, distancing Cambodia from the influence of Western partners.

The two countries are linked by a solid political, economic and military understanding. Recently, Beijing's support strengthened Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in the face of criticism following the dissolution of the first opposition party, ahead of the upcoming elections.

The agreements, whose economic value was not disclosed, were signed today at the end of talks between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Hun Sen in the Cambodian capital (photo). They include an agreement between the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation and the China Development Bank (Cdb) for a loan for the construction of a new airport in the north-western province of Siem Reap. The two countries also agree to build a motorway from Phnom Penh to the seaside resort of Sihanoukville, formerly a center of Chinese investment.

Cambodia’s Royal Group of Companies and the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corporation are planning to launch the first communications satellite of the Southeast Asian nation. Other operations include subsidized loans for the supply of electricity and support for Cambodian agriculture. Eun Sophalleth, assistant to Hun Se, declares that the two Prime Ministers also discussed how to encourage Chinese tourists to visit Cambodia and export sugar to China.

The official reports that Li promised Hun Sen a further economic commitment of over 1.2 billion yuan (246 million US dollars) for other projects. The Cambodia Foreign Ministry says that bilateral trade between the two countries will reach $ 6 billion by 2020.

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