China Leader’s Visit Hailed as Big Success

Former Chinese Premier Li Peng left Phnom Penh Monday, concluding a three-day visit in which he visited the Royal Palace, the temples of Angkor and the offices of Cambodia’s top leaders.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh ac­companied Li, chairman of the National People’s Congress and the second-ranking member of the Communist Party, down a red carpet to his waiting Air China jet at Pochentong Airport just before 9 am.

Li Peng took with him a re­quest from Hun Sen to ask the Bei­jing government for $60 million in aid to build roads in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces and for military demobilization. Ear­lier this year, China gave more than $3 million to the Cambodian military.

Li Peng is the fourth top Chi­nese leader to visit in the last six months. His next stop on his three-nation tour is Brunei. From there, he travels to South Korea.

Sunday night, Hun Sen hosted a reception for Li Peng at the Hotel Inter-Continental. Accord­ing to a report in the Chinese language Commercial News, Li Peng said in a toast at the reception that “the flower of Sino-Cambodian friendship will grow even more beautiful” through the “col­lective efforts” of Cambodia and China.

“We locals really gave him a big welcome, and he seemed very happy about that,” said Doung Chhiv, president of the Association of Chinese in Cam­bodia.

Kol Pheng, National Assembly general secretary, said it was a “very successful visit.”

He said Li Peng and Prince Ranariddh held a general discussion Saturday about the Assoc­iation of Asian Parliaments for Peace.

In January, the organization met in Phnom Penh for five days. China was inducted into the group and given the vice presidency seat, while Prince Ran­ariddh was named president. China will be the host nation for the next AAPP meeting in 2002.


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