PM’s China Trip Yields Grants, Loans, Business

Prime Minister Hun Sen re­turned from China on Friday bring­ing with him approximately $400 million in loans, grants and pro­mised investment.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters at Phnom Penh In­ter­national Airport that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao signed an agreement with Hun Sen to spend $300 million to build and ope­rate a hydropower plant at Phnom Kamchay in Kampot prov­ince. The plant is expected to provide 180 megawatts of power and will likely lower electricity prices in Cambodia, Hor Namhong said.

The Chinese government also agreed to spend $30 million to build a new Council of Ministers building and $60 million to purchase sea patrol boats for the Cam­bodian navy, Hor Namhong said.

China also donated 200 water-pump­ing machines and 30 fire trucks, he said. Hun Sen and Wen Jia­bao signed a loan agreement connected to China’s previously agreed-to project to improve Route 7 from Stung Treng town to the Laos border, according to Hor Nam­­hong.

At the Phnom Penh-hosted Ase­an summit in November 2002, former Chinese prime minister Zhu Rong­ji offered a $12.5 million aid and interest-free loan package and ag­reed to cancel debt owed by Cam­bodia to the Chinese government. Neither government would reveal the debt amount but a re­port at the time from the Far East­ern Economic Review said the amount was “at least $210 million.”

Hun Sen left Sunday for Kun­ming, China, to attend Monday and Tuesday’s Greater Mekong Sub-region conference.

On June 30, Hun Sen said he re­mained unconcerned over China’s plans to build dams along the up­per reaches of the Mekong River, a project that some critics believe would have disastrous effects on Cam­bodia’s section of the Me­kong and for the Tonle Sap river and lake, on which some 80 percent of Cambodians rely for their live­lihood. “I believe China…would not ig­nore the interests of the downstream countries,” he said on June 30.

While in China, Hun Sen also met with the governors of Yunnan and Guangxi provinces to discuss tourism and investment, Hor Nam­­hong said.

At the airport on Friday, Hun Sen also told reporters that the terrorist attacks in London were “horrible” and said the world must work together “to stop this kind of cruel activity.”

 

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