Hun Sen Returns From Fruitful Week in China

Prime Minster Hun Sen ar­riv­ed back in Phnom Penh on Sunday after a weeklong visit to Chi­na for an international summit during which Chinese Premier Xi Jinping pledged $145 million in aid and soft loans to Cambodia.

Media gathered at the Phnom Penh International Airport for a press conference on the activities of Mr. Hun Sen and his high-level delegation during the trip, but the conference was canceled without explanation. 

However, state news agency AKP reported that the trip was a success that bore “fruitful results.”

On Monday, AKP reported that China promised to donate $112 million to Cambodia and provide an additional $33 million in concessional loans—funds that Mr. Hun Sen announced were earmarked to help construction projects as Cambodia prepares to host the 2023 Southeast Asia Games.

The agency reported Sunday that on the final day of the visit Mr. Hun Sen held talks with the head of telecoms giant ZTE Corporation and also had a separate meeting with Zheng Xu, president of Shang­hai Construc­tion (Group).

Shanghai Construction is in­volved in national road building projects in Cambodia, including National Road 6 connecting Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

At the meeting, according to AKP, the Chinese firm was invited by Mr. Hun Sen to bid for the contract to construct the new stadium for the 2023 SEA Games with China’s pledges of cash.

Also during the visit, the Chi­nese government reportedly thanked Cambodia for welcoming 1,600 Chinese people across its border with Vietnam last week, when anti-Chinese sentiment boiled over following Chi­na’s decision to move an oil rig into disputed territory in the South China Sea.

Tran Van Thong, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy, said Sunday that there was no ill will regarding Mr. Hun Sen’s visit to China, as the Vietnamese government is confident in Cambodia’s neutrality in the dispute.

“As I can see, Cambodia ad­heres to neutrality and wants to maintain peace and security,” he said.

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