Hor Namhong to Head Committee With Chinese Government

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and former Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi have been chosen to co-chair a newly created intergovernmental committee launched between the two countries this week to enhance cooperation in areas such as law enforcement and defense.

In a joint communique released Tuesday while Prime Minister Hun Sen was in Beijing for a series of meetings with senior communist leaders, China and Cambodia also said they would help each other uphold their respective national security as well collaborate in promoting peace and stability in the region.

Speaking to journalists after the Cambodian delegation arrived back in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh provided some details on the new committee, the latest strengthening of ties between the two countries.

“The intergovernmental committee will be led by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and China’s side will be led by former Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi,” he said in the briefing at the Phnom Penh International Airport. “We will also have participation from various different ministries to implement the newly adopted action plan,” he added.

“Relations between Cambodia and China are reaching the highest level. There’s no level in the world better than this relationship. We have reached the top: political party and political party, government and government, civil organizations and civil organizations, people and people and all sectors,” Mr. Prasidh continued.

According to Mr. Prasidh, the Chinese government provided $47 million in grants to the Cam­bodian government, $500 million in concessional, low-interest loans and an additional $47 million loan to make up for shortfalls in the national budget.

“It’s the productive result of Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] that Cambodia has received [these grants and loans],” Mr. Prasidh said. “This is a huge amount of money to develop our economy faster.”

The amount of Chinese investment in Cambodia already makes it the most significant foreign investor in the country.

“In the last 10 years, China has been the biggest donor to Cambodia, helping to pave 2,000 km [of roads] and build seven long bridges across the nation,” Mr. Prasidh said.

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