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.”