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Before Meeting With China, FM Insists on Strong Ties

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Foreign Minister Hor Namhong left for China yesterday for an annual meeting and spoke to reporters before he left. KT/ Vireak Mai

Before departing for China to co-chair an annual meeting between the two governments yesterday, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong denied claims that their relationship was any weaker than that of Cambodia and the United States. 
Speaking at the Phnom Penh International Airport before his flight to Beijing, Mr. Nahmong also announced his hopes of increasing the trade between Cambodia and China to $5 billion. The meeting will run until Friday.
His flight comes just one week after US Secretary of State John Kerry paid an official visit to Cambodia.
Some analysts believe part of Mr. Namhong’s agenda in China will be to reaffirm the two country’s good standing. 
During the Mr. Kerry’s visit, Mr. Namhong spoke about Cambodia’s stance in the East Sea conflict, while also discussing the enhancement of bilateral ties between the country and the US.
At no point did Mr. Kerry demand Cambodia choose a side between the US and China, Mr. Namhong said. 
“I told Mr. John Kerry at that time that everybody knows about the friendship between Cambodia and China, but Cambodia wants to be close friends with the US as well,” he said, adding that although Japan and China are in conflict over the East Sea, even there Cambodia is taking a neutral stance. 
Mr. Namhong added that Cambodia’s relationships with other countries were always strategic in nature. The way the Kingdom interacts with others is always dependent on the perceived benefit of those interactions for the Cambodian people, he said. 
Speaking to the agricultural partnership between Cambodia and China, Mr. Namhong was optimistic.
“We hope that China will buy many of our agricultural products such as rubber, cassava flour, pepper, and sugar,” he said.

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