China’s Premier Comes to Cambodia Bearing Gifts

The routine nature and broad scope of the agreements signed by Li Keqiang and Hun Sen reflects the closeness of the relationship between Beijing and Phnom Penh.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang yesterday announced a large development assistance package for Cambodia, reinforcing the special relationship that has blossomed between the two countries over the past 20 years.

Li arrived on Cambodia on November 8 for a six-day visit pegged to the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Cambodia is chairing this year. He will represent Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the ASEAN-China Summit on November 11, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, which also includes representatives from Japan and South Korea, on November 12, and the regional East Asia Summit on November 13.

The Chinese government also built some extra time into his schedule for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has developed over recent years into possibly Beijing’s closest Asian ally. After a meeting in which Li and Hun Sen exchanged praise and pleasantries on the sunny state of bilateral ties, the pro-government news outlet Fresh News reported that the two leaders oversaw the signing of 18 agreements on aid and cooperation. These spanned a broad range of issues, and included loans for infrastructure projects, export protocols, cooperation agreements, and handover certificates for completed development projects.

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