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Leaders applaud cooperation on South China Sea

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Hun Sen. KT/ Mai Vireak

Cambodia and China yesterday called for all relevant parties to adopt the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and continue implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties.

The appeal was made during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to Cambodia.

According to a joint statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, both countries applauded the stability in the South China Sea, while also hoping to make it a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

“Both sides expressed their satisfaction over the stability and continued sound momentum of the situation in the South China Sea,” read the statement.

It added that they called on relevant countries to continue to fully and effectively implement the DOC, deepen pragmatic maritime cooperation, and promote consultation on the COC to have it adopted based on mutual consensus.

The Cambodian government has on multiple occasions reiterated its stance of taking no sides in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

After the meeting at the Peace Palace yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s assistant Eang Sophalleth would not say if both leaders had discussed the South China Sea.

He only said Mr Li’s visit aimed to boost stronger cooperation and further enhance China-Cambodia ties, while coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Mr Li said China would continue helping Cambodia to push for development,” Mr Sophalleth said, adding that China had already prepared $276 million as aid to the kingdom.

“He asked Cambodia to continue negotiations with China in order to finalise this budget package.”

The two countries launched three other projects, including the “Love Heart Journey”, to support Preah Kossamak Hospital and Tbong Khmum provincial hospital, as well as a project involving the conceptual design of Siem Reap Angkor International Airport.

“Love Heart Journey” will see the Chinese government, over a three-year period, support the medical treatment of 100 Cambodian children suffering from congenital heart disease.

In the first stage of the initiative, 26 children with the disease in Battambang province will receive medical treatment in China free of charge.

Mr Li also laid wreathes at the Independence Monument and paid his respects at the memorial to the late King Norodom Sihanouk. The Chinese premier was also granted a royal audience by King Norodom Sihamoni.

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