Hun Sen Back From China Nearly Empty-Handed

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday returned from his one-day trip to China, where he met with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and requested the country keep its interest rate low for Chinese loans to Cambodia, as well as provide concessional loans to advance Cambodia’s rice industry and assist in the country’s national defense, an official said.

But Mr. Zhang said he would have to review the requests.

“Samdech requested to keep the interest rate low at 1.25 percent, so it does not reach 2 percent. Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen also requested China provide concessional loans to build a warehouse storing rice, which is a vital goal for our government,” Kao Kim Hourn, a delegate minister to Mr. Hun Sen, told reporters at the Phnom Penh International Airport upon Mr. Hun Sen’s return.

Mr. Kim Hourn said Mr. Hun Sen also requested that China lift the tariff on Cambodia’s rice exports without a quota limit, and assist in national defense.

Mr. Kim Hourn said, however, that Mr. Zhang said China would have to review all but one of Mr. Hun Sen’s requests.

“Mr. Gaoli welcomed the increasing imports of Cambodian agricultural products to China. On the other hand, he will thoroughly review Cambodia’s other requests,” he said.

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