The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last week resulted in loan agreements worth almost $2 billion for road infrastructure development in Cambodia, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on Friday.
According to Transport Minister Sun Chanthol, the money will be used to build a highway from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, a new bridge crossing the Mekong River in Kampong Cham province, and a new road connecting Prey Veng to Kampong Cham provinces.
“The project to build roads and bridges that were signed today will contribute significantly to the travel and transportation for Cambodians, especially the bridge crossing the Mekong from Steung Trang [district] and Krouch Chhmar district, which help citizens in Tabong Khmum and Kampong Cham provinces to travel and transport [goods] easier, as they currently have difficulty traveling via ferry,” he told reporters after the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU).
On Thursday, China agreed to provide financial aid of 1.2 billion Chinese yuan (about $180 million) to Cambodia in deals made during the two-day state visit of President Xi, while 31 agreements and MoUs between the two countries were reached.
Mr. Chanthol explained that the bridge, and corresponding new road, to be named National Highway 11, would be funded by concessional loans from China, with the Cambodian government contributing five percent towards the total costs. The bridge is due to cost $57 million, while 96-kilometer long National Road 11 will cost $98 million.
He said that the road to Sihnaoukville will cost $1.9 billion. All three projects are due to begin construction next year.
There are presently six Chinese-funded bridges in Cambodia, costing a combined $200 million. A seventh bridge, across the Tonle Bassac river is due for completion later this year, at a cost of $20 million.
China has also assisted in the development of 20 major roads in the country at a cost of almost $1 billion, said Mr. Chanthol.
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