Cambodia awaits payday as Hun Sen cozies up to China

Money trickling into country remains far off as virus pounds other economies.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” is a slogan likely to be repeated by China and Cambodia long after the coronavirus pandemic has abated.

Those were the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping as he towered over his ally, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in February.

China was battling the worst of the virus when the Cambodian strongman arrived to show his support — the first foreign leader to do so since the outbreak. The period may have been bleak, but for Hun Sen the meeting marked a moment of triumph. It conveyed a message of unshakable solidarity, and as China emerges from the ravages of the pandemic the gesture is beginning to pay dividends.

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