Marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Cambodia and China signed yesterday multiple agreements, amounting to billions of dollars in concessional loans and reaching consensus on the financing of much-awaited projects like the expressway to Sihanoukville and the new airport in Phnom Penh.
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The agreements were signed on the occasion of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang state visit to the kingdom to participate in the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit.
Seven memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed, while 10 agreements were inked, including concessional loans for projects related to infrastructure, vocational training, agriculture, electricity and healthcare.
Most agreements were made between the Cambodian and the Chinese governments, while some were signed between the Cambodian government and the private sector. A few agreements were also made between parties in the private sector.
The total amount of agreements made was not disclosed.
One of those agreements clarified the terms under which a new expressway connecting the capital to Sihanoukville will be built.
The 190-kilometre highway will come at a cost of nearly $2 billion, and will have four lanes for the majority of its run.
Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport, announced last month that negotiations surrounding the expressway project had concluded, with the official signing of an agreement that will make the China Communications Construction Company the official contractor expected later this month.
The project will be built on a build-operate-transfer basis by the Chinese company.
Another mega-project in the limelight yesterday was Phnom Penh’s new airport, with the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation, a local company, and the China Development Bank signing a financing cooperation framework agreement on the project.
“As far I know, the location being considered for the new airport is somewhere in southern Phnom Penh. It will be comparable in size to the new airport in Siem Reap,” Sin Chansereyvutha, spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation said, adding that the capital’s new airport will cater to long-haul flights.
Similarly, a framework agreement was signed on a project to build Cambodia’s first communications satellite, dubbed “Techo 1”. The signatories were Royal Group, a local conglomerate, and China Great Wall Industry Corporation, who are now conducting feasibility studies.
The cost of bringing Cambodia’s first satellite into orbit will be $150 million, an event that could take places as early as 2021, according to the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia.