Chinese Give $220 Million In Budget, Infrastructure Aid

Prime Minister Hun Sen and other top government officials returned Friday from a four-day state visit to China, announcing three loans and grant deals worth more than $220 million.

Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong called the visit “a success” and told reporters on the Pochen-tong Airport tarmac that China has agreed to a 40 million yuan ($4.8 million) grant and a 150 million yuan ($18 million) low-interest loan. In addition, China has agreed to finance $200 million worth of infrastructure and water resources projects, Hor Nam Hong said.

During the visit, the two countries also agreed to an extradition treaty and signed pacts on cultural and tourism cooperation. No details were released.

Scores of top government officials and military and police brass came to Pochentong Airport to greet Hun Sen, who spoke briefly with Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng before leaving in his black Mercedes limousine.

Transport Minister Khy Taing-lim, Culture Minister Princess Norodom Bopha Devi, Finance Minister Keat Chhon and Min-ister of the Council of Ministers Sok An also made the trip.

The issue of a possible Khmer Rouge tribunal did not come up, Hor Nam Hong said, calling it “an internal affair” of Cambodia.

He declined to answer any other questions.

During the visit, Hun Sen met with President Jiang Zemin,  Prime Minister Zhu Rongji and Li Ruihan, the chairman of the Chi-nese People’s Political Consul-tative Conference.

On Thursday, Hun Sen visited Kunming, the capital of China’s southwestern Yunnan province. Hun Sen and Yunnan Provincial Governor Li Jiating held talks on bilateral cooperation, especially in agriculture, tobacco, farm machinery, trade and tourism, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Li said the province could provide rice and vegetable cultivation techniques and produce farm machinery parts with Cambodia, and was ready to cooperate with Cambodia in tobacco production and sales.

(Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse)


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