Cambodia signs trade pact as China bonds strengthen

Beijing has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Cambodia but locals see appropriation of local assets.

China’s top diplomat was in Cambodia Monday on the start of a visit both countries hope will boost relations at a time of increased tensions with the United States.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi – who will also visit Malaysia, Laos and Thailand on a regional charm offensive – signed a trade deal that will allow Cambodia to export 340 mostly agricultural products without tariffs.

Beijing has all but replaced Washington as Phnom Penh’s most important international partner, with the latest example just last week when a US-funded naval facility was razed as part of a new base being developed with Chinese aid.

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