Senate President Chea Sim, who is also president of the ruling CPP, returned Monday to Phnom Penh after a one-week visit to China.
Chea Sim did not speak about his trip when he arrived at Pochentong Airport, but his spokesman said the visit “successful and positive.”
In a signing ceremony in Beijing, China promised to give Cambodia almost $61,000 to repair and renovate the Senate building, said spokesman Kunthea Borei Math Ly Ruon. China has been the top donor for renovations and other gifts to the Cambodian Senate.
Chea Sim met high-ranking Chinese lawmakers, Communist Party officials and other leaders, including President Jiang Zemin, who visited Cambodia in November. In February, Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian came to town for a five-day visit and pledged $3.7 million in military aid.
Chea Sim saw King Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing, where the King is having a medical check-up and is scheduled to return to Cambodia before the end of next week, in time for the Khmer New Year.
Chea Sim also visited Shanghai and paid a courtesy call on that city’s mayor.
He was accompanied by a senator from each of the three parties represented in the Senate—the CPP, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party.
Chea Sim’s visit highlights Cambodia’s increasingly strong ties to China, which is a major bilateral donor and investor here. Political analysts have said the close relationship allows China to have a foothold in Southeast Asia while Cambodia gains an ally that can use its power to help Cambodia in the international arena.
Prime Minister Hun Sen is planning a trip to China later this year, but no date has been scheduled yet, according to adviser Om Yentieng.
He said the visit will be aimed at strengthening the friendship and economic ties between Cambodia and China.
(Additional reporting by Pin Sisovann)