Hun Sen leaves for China, set to double down on relations

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times 1 Comment Share:
Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Cabinet Minister Bin Chhin see off Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

Prime Minister Hun Sen has left for an official state visit to China where he is scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to discuss the future of Sino-Khmer relations.

“This is the first overseas visit after the new year,” Sry Thamrong, minister attached to the Prime Minister, said yesterday at Phnom Penh International Airport. “It will improve the relationship with our Chinese friends.”

Mr Thamrong said Mr Hun Sen leads a delegation comprised of Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, Public Works and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol, Tourism Minister Thong Khon, other high-ranking government officials and members of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.

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During his visit, Mr Hun Sen is expected to sign at least eight agreements.

“China is a country that has helped Cambodia the most by investing in roads, bridges, airports and hydroelectricity,” Mr Thamrong said, noting that on Tuesday Mr Hun Sen is expected to talk about trade between the two countries.

He noted that trade between the two nations is estimated to be worth nearly $6 billion and that both governments are aiming to increase it to about $10 billion per year.

He added that during the visit, Mr Hun Sen is also expected to meet with Cambodian students studying in China.

Prime Minister Hun Sen shakes hands before departing for China yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

“Aside from these meetings, the Prime Minister will meet about 470 Cambodian university students in China,” Mr Thamrong said.

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He noted that last year, 1.9 million Chinese tourists visited the Kingdom and that the government is anticipating about two million Chinese tourists to visit the Kingdom by the end of this year.

Prior to his departure yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said on Facebook that he plans to “hold discussions with Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang to strengthen cooperation”.

He said he will also sign a number of Memoranda of Understanding and agreements related to trade and investments.

“We will discuss the economy, trade relations and investments,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Some MoUs and agreements have already been drafted and are ready to sign with China.”

According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry press release on Friday, Mr Hun Sen will also meet with Li Zhanshu and Wang Yang, members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee.

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In addition, Mr Hun Sen will also visit a 40th anniversary celebration marking China’s reversal on its isolationist policies enacted decades ago.

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