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Hun Sen slams critics over Chinese investments

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking to reporters at the site of the tragedy in Sihanoukville on Monday night. KT /Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday lashed out at critics over an accusation that the influx of Chinese nationals and investment in Preah Sihanouk province in recent years is a “debt trap” and colonisation.

Speaking to reporters at the site where an under construction seven story building collapsed with 28 deaths, Mr Hun Sen said that Chinese investments help develop the Kingdom.

“I have already heard the accusation many times that China comes to colonise [the Kingdom] through its investments but I wish to clarify to all of you that now the world needs Chinese investors to invest in their countries,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We are lucky; we attract Chinese investors to our country.”

Mr Hun Sen also called on critics to stop making accusations against Chinese nationals and investments in Sihanoukville.

“Those who do not want our country to develop say that ‘it is China’s debt trap and it is colonisation by China’ but I wish to clarify that people in Sihanoukville gain benefits from the investments,” he said. “When the construction begins, the road will damage but when the construction is completed, Sihanoukville will become a big city and it is not like what they think.”

Wang Tianxiang, deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Division of Southeast Asian Affairs, told Khmer Times early this month that the situation in Sihanoukville has been discussed amongst officials.

“We have talked about this; when a lot of Chinese people flood the country, there might be some problems,” Mr Wang said during an interview in Beijing. “China and Cambodia have a close relationship, so that is why we have many businessmen and tourists coming to your country.”

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