Cambodia will have to apply to China to seek entry into the group of countries that have qualified for the 30-day visa waiver policy in Hainan for tourists, which is currently applicable to 59 countries.
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China introduced the policy for Hainan starting from May 1 to accelerate the development of the tourism industry in the province.
People from the 59 countries will be able to visit the province for 30 days visa-free as long as they book their travel through a local travel agency.
Zhai Jinjun, vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that to join the group of 59 countries, Cambodia needed to seek consent from China as such privileges are not done unilaterally, but bilaterally.
China announced the commencement of direct flights from Haikou city of South China’s Hainan province to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap city in 2016, Mr Jinjun noted.
He added that the Belt and Road Initiative would benefit Cambodia once the Trans Asian Railway line is connected, as this will run through Cambodia to Singapore.
“China has land connectivity with many Asean nations, and China is also a good friend of this grouping,” he said. “Cambodia has been steadfast in its support toward China in all aspects and is indeed a dear and most valued friend and development partner to China for the Belt and Road Initiative.”
Professor Chen Wenling, the chief economist with CCIEE, said that for multilateral and bilateral development and assistance from China, political stability and policy consistency are prerequisites.
Without these two factors, China’s BRI will not be able to achieve the successes it has attained thus far with many growth corridors being developed.
“China developed by being the capital for re-innovation,” she said. “An example is the high-speed railway. China first obtained the technology for high-speed railways from Germany and Japan, and re-innovated them to achieve greater speeds of up to 400 kilometres per hour.
“We bring in technology, assimilate them and then re-innovate them to become a production centre for exports of these technologies and give these expertise to other countries, where political and policy stabilities are key ingredients.”
Zha Changmiao, deputy head of the China Communication Construction Corporation’s culture department, said that CCCC is undertaking many projects in Cambodia.
“Cambodia is one country where CCCC is actively seeking turnkey projects as we not only undertake projects as a contractor, but we also finance them through banks which offer us preferential interest rates,” he said. “Though Cambodia may not be able to afford mega projects which it desperately needs, these projects can and will be considered by CCCC.”
He added that CCCC undertook country risk assessment and carefully examined political and economic stability as a key to the corporation’s project involvement, either as a contractor for official development assistance or to invest directly through foreign direct investment.