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South Korea to help build bridge across Mekong

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
Thousands of people take the ferry across the Mekong River from Kandal province to the capital every day. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government of South Korea will help to build a Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River in the future, according to a statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday.

The announcement came after a meeting on Friday between Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and newly-appointed South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Oh Nak-young, who returned as ambassador after leaving Cambodia 10 years ago.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr Oh expressed pleasure in returning to diplomatic work in Cambodia and was extremely interested in the country’s rapid progress.

“In bilateral discussions, the minister expressed thanks for assistance in all sectors, which the South Korean government has provided to Cambodia, and evaluated the response of the South Korean government in accepting the request of the Prime Minister to help build the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River,” the statement said.

In April 2017, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia needed to build bridges connecting Kdey Ta Koy in Chbar Ampov district to the Arey Ksat area in Kandal province, and from Keo Chenda Street in Chroy Changvar district to the Svay Chrum area in Kandal province’s L’vea Em district.

Va Simsorya, spokesman for the Transport Ministry, said the project to build a bridge across the Mekong River would link Chroy Changvar to the Svay Chrum area, which the ministry has already studied under a Chinese aid project.

However, he added, the ministry would have to study it again since it was now a South Korean project.

“Now, because we asked the South Korean government and they agreed, we have to study it again, which takes at least one year. I cannot say anything yet because there are no documents.”

The bridge connections from Phnom Penh across the Mekong River to Kandal province’s L’vea Em and Ksach Kandal districts are expected to facilitate residents’ travel and transport of their products to sell in Phnom Penh.

Chay Vuthy, a 56-year-old resident of Ksach Kandal district, said villagers had waited a long time for a bridge to the area.

“I am happy to hear there will be a bridge connection to Phnom Penh. The elders in the village have waited for a long time,” he said.

“If they really build a bridge, we will be happy because we won’t have to wait for the ferry.”

Mr Vuthy said people in the area wanted the bridge to be built as soon as possible because it would help the area develop like other areas on the outskirts of the capital.

According to a South Korean embassy official, a decision has not been made for the proposed bridge construction project as they are only at the initial stages of discussion.

“We are discussing this project,” she said. “It is a preliminary discussion. There are more steps to be discussed on this project.”

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