Tue, 26 Sep 2023

© Provided by Xinhua

BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- China and Cambodia have further consolidated their decades-long friendship and pledged further efforts to build a community with a shared future, with a series of consensus reached during Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet's official visit to China.

Hun Manet's three-day trip from Thursday to Saturday is his first official visit after taking office in August, during which Chinese President Xi Jinping met with him. The Cambodian premier also held talks and met with other Chinese state leaders.

During his meeting with Hun Manet on Friday, Xi described the friendship between China and Cambodia as "ironclad." The fact that Hun Manet chose China as the destination for his first bilateral visit fully demonstrates the great importance the new Cambodian government attaches to consolidating and developing China-Cambodia friendship, Xi said.

For his part, Hun Manet stressed that the new Cambodian government will continue to firmly pursue a friendly policy towards China and further carry forward the two countries' friendship.

China and Cambodia set up diplomatic ties in the 1950s and established a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in 2010. A bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries took effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and their bilateral trade value of the year reached about 16 billion U.S. dollars.

Wu Jiewei, a professor of Cambodian studies at Peking University, said Hun Manet's visit is expected to accelerate cooperation in all fields between China and Cambodia and consolidate the two countries' long-standing friendship.

During their meeting, Xi called for joint efforts to implement the new action plan for building a China-Cambodia community with a shared future.

Wu believes the action plan is of great significance at the current time when both countries are in a new stage of development. "It will not only promote the overall development of China-Cambodia cooperation but also promote exchanges between the two peoples and bring more benefits to them," he said.

The two leaders agreed to promote cooperation based on the "Diamond Hexagon" cooperation framework, which covers political cooperation, production capacity, agriculture, energy, security, and people-to-people exchanges. They also expressed the willingness to deepen Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation and jointly build the "Industrial Development Corridor" and the "Fish and Rice Corridor."

China and Cambodia have seen fruitful achievements in BRI cooperation. The Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, for example, is a flagship project under the initiative. In the first eight months this year, the value of imports and exports passing through the economic zone reached 2.22 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 27.3 percent.

Gu Jiayun, a scholar of Cambodian studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said economic development has been a focus for Cambodia over the past two decades and BRI cooperation meets the country's needs.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the China-Cambodia diplomatic ties and the Year of China-Cambodia Friendship. Based on a relationship featuring mutual trust, equal treatment, and win-win cooperation over the past 65 years, China and Cambodia are pushing forward the building of a community with a shared future that emphasizes mutual support on issues of each other's core interests.

"No matter how the international and regional situation may change, China is always Cambodia's most reliable friend and staunch supporter," Xi said.

When holding talks with Hun Manet on Friday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said China is ready to work with Cambodia to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, leverage the leading role of high-level exchanges, strengthen strategic communication, and push for new progress in building a China-Cambodia community with a shared future.

After the talks, Li and Hun Manet witnessed the signing of several bilateral cooperation documents in industry, agricultural infrastructure, the digital economy, green development, inspection and quarantine, and development cooperation.

"The two countries will promote and deepen their cooperation with greater openness and inclusiveness, and their futures will be more closely connected," said Wu, the Peking University professor.

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