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Cambodia, China to Deepen Ties as Wang Yi Visits Phnom Penh

PHNOM PENH – Cambodia and China’s foreign ministers expressed satisfaction on April 21 with the strong development of bilateral relations in all sectors as China’s top diplomat is paying an official visit to Phnom Penh.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Cambodia’s capital city on April 21 for a three-day visit during which he will hold talks with top leaders.

Foreign Minister Sok Chenda Sophea met his Chinese counterpart a few hours after he stepped foot in the country.

In a statement released on April 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that the meeting included talks for further cooperation in infrastructure, energy, economy and trade. 

The two ministers also discussed enhancing the diamond cooperation framework – which was agreed upon in February 2023 to develop cooperation in six priority areas –, people-to-people exchanges, and the joint development of industrial and technological, and fish and rice corridors.

Sophea and Wang said they highly value the strong development of bilateral relations in all sectors under the comprehensive strategic partnership.

According to the Chinese state media agency Xinhua, Wang reportedly told Sophea that the two countries should “jointly combat illegal activities such as online gambling, telecommunications fraud, and human trafficking, and thoroughly eradicate related criminal gangs.”

Sophea, who is also deputy prime minister, said Cambodia firmly adheres to the one-China policy and is committed to advancing friendly cooperation with China while looking forward to more cooperation projects with China and welcoming more Chinese companies.

Wang later paid a courtesy call to King Norodom Sihamoni during which he said that China will always be Cambodia’s most trustworthy partner and strongest supporter.

During his stay in Cambodia, Wang will meet Senate President Hun Sen and hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chanthol and Wang will co-chair an intergovernmental meeting to discuss areas of cooperation.

The visit by the Chinese top diplomat came as Cambodia faced allegations over Chinese military activities at Ream Naval Base and criticism over the 180-kilometer-long Funan Techo Canal project, which will connect the Mekong River to the sea. 

Vietnamese experts expressed they fear China will use the canal as a gateway to access the inland Vietnamese border.

Cambodia repeatedly denied the allegations, saying that the project is purely for economic and trade purposes. 

The canal will cost $1.7 billion which will be covered by the State-Company China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC) under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme.

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