BEIIJING – The Confucius Institute, a non-profit public educational organisation affiliated with the Chinese government and with a centre in Phnom Penh, expects the intake of Cambodian students to increase in coming years as China and Cambodia fortify political and economic ties.
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Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) meeting in Beijing, Yu Yunfeng, the deputy director-general of the Confucius Institute’s head office, said his institution acts as a bridge between China and the rest of the world, helping people from any country learn Mandarin and understand the country’s rich culture and vast history.
“It isn’t just about Chinese language learning. We also aim to strengthen cooperation and promote exchanges of people and information around the world,” Mr Yu said.
With regards to LMC countries, Mr Yu said his centre is responsible for making the study of Chinese language and culture accessible to millions of people in the region.
“We have made many educational achievements with the Mekong countries,” he said, adding that there are 19 centres in the Greater Mekong Subregion, which is comprised of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
He said the number of students applying to study at the Confucius Institute in Phnom Penh, located in the Royal Academy of Cambodia, will increase considerably in the near future because the rapport between both countries is now at an all-time high.
“More Cambodian students are interested in Chinese culture and language now than any time before,” he said.
China is now the biggest investor in Cambodia and Chinese tourist arrivals to the kingdom are expected to double by 2020 and reach two million.
There are 525 Confucius Institutes around the world, spread around 146 different countries.