Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday called on the public to not worry about losing territorial sovereignty due to an influx of Chinese investment in the Kingdom.
Mr Siphan said citizens have been concerned about losing Preah Sihanouk province amid increasing Chinese investment.
“We have seen thousands of Chinese criminals arrested and deported – this is a show of our intent to manage the situation,” he said. “The Chinese brought money to invest in Cambodia. People in Kampong Som benefited from selling land to Chinese investors, but the Chinese do not own the land.”
“Land will always belong to Khmer people that we can revoke at any time if investors break the law,” Mr Siphan added. “Our government does not allow anyone to be above the law.”
Mr Siphan noted that Cambodia and China are friends and are working towards greater Asian competitiveness.
He said that Preah Sihanouk is an area targeted for modern development and that young citizens should seek working opportunities there.
Additionally, Mr Siphan said that Cambodia is not involved in the trade war between the United States and China.
“Cambodia is still friends with the US,” he said. “Our message to the public is that do not discriminate against other countries.”
According to government data in 2018, from January to June, Chinese investment was worth $5 billion, making China the biggest investor in the Kingdom. Chinese investors are involved in almost every economic sector, from energy to infrastructure, and from tourism to real estate and finance.
China is also the number one nation when it comes to foreign tourist arrivals. During the first six months of last year, 931,763 Chinese tourists visited Cambodia.
Ky Sereivuth, director of the Chinese Study Centre at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said between 2012 to last year, Chinese investments grew an annual average of 27 percent, noting that Chinese imports have also grown 16 percent in the same period.
“We trade with China because we receive increasing benefits,” Mr Sereivuth said.