Mutual trust, support solidify Cambodia-China ties, say experts

Passengers from China's Beijing, arrive at Phnom Penh International airport after China reopens its borders amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Cambodia. - Reuterssss

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): Over past years, mutual trust and support between Cambodia and China have largely consolidated bilateral relations, Cambodian experts have said.

Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, an arm of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Cambodia-China ties have brought tangible benefits to both countries as well as their people, and made positive contributions to regional peace, stability and development.

"The ironclad friendship between the two countries is based on mutual trust, respect, help and support," he told Xinhua.

"I strongly believe that relations between Cambodia and China will continue to grow stronger, more comprehensive, strategic and unbreakable, and diversify into numerous areas of common interest," he added.

Phea said solidarity in addressing international challenges, bilateral dialogue, mutual understanding and respect will navigate the two countries to greater achievements.

Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said bilateral ties have withstood the test of regional and international vicissitudes and have become even closer since Cambodia and China forged diplomatic ties in 1958.

Noting that the two countries elevated their relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation in December 2010, Sereyvath said "the fraternal relationship should serve as a role model of country-to-country relations."

He said under the Belt and Road Initiative, a number of Chinese-built mega-projects such as roads, bridges, airports, hydropower plants and economic zones have been completed in Cambodia.

"Chinese development aid and investment have played a crucial role in supporting Cambodia's socio-economic development and poverty reduction through creating hundreds of thousands of jobs," he said.

"Moreover, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade pact and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement... have been giving a big boost to Cambodia's economic growth," he said.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, said the joint COVID-19 fight over the past years has injected fresh impetus into relations between the two countries.

"China was the first country to help Cambodia in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic," he told Xinhua.

With Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, Cambodia has successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19 and has resumed business activities and traveling, he said.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said the close and special relationship between Cambodia and China is characterized by deep historical feelings.

"Long-term political mutual trust and equal treatment make Cambodia and China ironclad friends," he told Xinhua.

"With high commitment and efforts made by the leaders and people of the two countries, I believe that the construction of the Cambodia-China community with a shared future will become a reality," Matthews said.

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