PM Meets China’s Xi, Receives $150M Grant

Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday to receive a grant worth more than $150 million, the majority of which will go toward the construction of a massive sports and entertainment complex in Phnom Penh, a sen­ior official said.

Mr. Hun Sen arrived in China on Monday for a series of conferences on defense, trade and tour­ism, and on Thursday joined Mr. Xi to oversee the signing of several agreements between their two countries, according to a post on the prime minister’s Facebook page.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Chinese Ambassador Bu Jianguo make a toast at the Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

During the event, China pledged to import 100,000 tons of milled rice from Cambodia every year beginning in 2016, to construct a hospital in Tbong Khmum province, and to furnish Cambodia with 1 billion yuan (about $157 million) in the form of a grant, the post said.

Vath Chamroeun, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, said on Friday that nearly $100 million of the grant would go toward the second phase of construction of the Morodok Techo National Sports Complex, including the main stadium.

Tasked with hosting the 2023 SEA Games, the government be­gan construction of the sprawling sports complex on 85 hectares of land on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Chang­va peninsula in 2013 at a cost of about $39 million.
While a firm belonging to CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat was selected to carry out the first phase of construction, which is expected to wrap up in 2016, the more am­bitious second phase will be carried out by a Chinese construction firm chosen by China, Mr. Cham­roeun said.

“It’s not just going to be a sports stadium, but an interesting entertainment place as well, with moats around it like Angkor Wat,” he said.

During a separate event in Phnom Penh on Friday, China’s ambassador to Cambodia, Bu Jian­guo, handed over some $126,000 worth of office equipment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of her government.

After thanking Ms. Bu for the donation—which included desktop and laptop computers, laser printers and photocopiers—Mr. Namhong noted Cambodia’s fi­nancial dependence on China.

“The Cambodian economy cannot be cut off from the aid of the Chinese people and the Chinese government,” he said.

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