Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, September 15, 2023. /Xinhua
Heng Mengty, an export manager of Kim Chou Co., Ltd. Import/Export and International Transportation, is glad to see that a shipment of wild aquatic products from Cambodia departed from the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Thursday.
Loaded with frozen eels and frozen freshwater glass shrimp weighing around 10 tonnes, the shipment will reach the port of Shanghai around October 15. It marks the first time that Cambodia has directly exported wild aquatic products to China.
"This export will contribute to economic growth, creating jobs for our farmers and fishermen," said Mengty.
Wild aquatic products are the second of Cambodia's agricultural products authorized for export to China this year after peppers, marking another fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
Cambodia appreciates China's long-term strong support and assistance for Cambodia's economic and social development, said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday.
Hun Manet's trip to Beijing marks his first official visit after taking office in August.
The visit fully "demonstrates the great importance the new Cambodian government attaches to consolidating and developing China-Cambodia friendship," said Xi, describing both countries as being "ironclad friends" since they established diplomatic ties in 1958.
Echoing Xi, Hun Manet said the new Cambodian government will continue to firmly pursue a friendly policy toward China and further carry forward the ironclad friendship between Cambodia and China.
In the year marked by the tenth anniversary of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Hun Manet said Cambodia is willing to deepen Belt and Road cooperation and push for further development of bilateral cooperation in industry, agriculture and other fields.
People work at a factory in the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone in Preah Sihanouk province, Cambodia, July 19, 2022. /Xinhua
In the past 65 years, China and Cambodia have witnessed mutually beneficial cooperation on all fronts, such as flourishing bilateral trade and fruitful people-to-people exchanges, as the ironclad friendship continues to stand the test of time.
The volume of bilateral trade hit a record high of $16.02 billion in 2022, up by 17.5 percent year on year, making China the largest trading partner of Cambodia for 11 years in a row, said Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, at a regular press conference in February.
Cambodia's Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), jointly ventured by Chinese and Cambodian investors, is a flagship project under the BRI.
The trade volume of imports and exports passing through the SSEZ registered $2.22 billion in the first eight months of 2023, a year on year increase of 27.3 percent, according to Cambodian General Department of Customs and Excise, which added the trade volume accounted for around seven percent of the country's total trade volume.
So far, the 11-square-km economic zone has accommodated some 175 companies from China, the U.S., Europe, Southeast Asia and other regions, creating nearly 30,000 jobs.
The SSEZ is a key infrastructure project to back the establishment of the "Industrial Development Corridor" - one of the two corridors Cambodia is establishing with China in a bid to enhance the kingdom's capacity for independent development, said Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia.
The other corridor is the "Fish and Rice Corridor," which Phea said will develop modern ecological agriculture and farmers will greatly benefit from it.
Noting China firmly supports Cambodia in exploring a path suited to its national conditions, Xi called on both countries jointly build the two corridors and promote the early implementation of relevant key cooperation projects.
Chinese tourists arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 7, 2023. /Xinhua
Both China and Cambodia declared the year 2023 as the China-Cambodia Friendship Year to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The Cambodian tourism ministry in January launched a campaign called "Cambodia-China Good Friend" to welcome tourists from China. And their Chinese friends did not let them down.
Some 268,130 Chinese tourists visited the kingdom during the first half of 2023, up 771.8 percent from 30,754 in the same period last year, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, adding that China became the third-largest source of foreign visitors to the Southeast Asian country after Thailand and Vietnam.
During his meeting with Hun Manet, Xi said both countries should continue to host activities to celebrate the China-Cambodia Friendship Year and expand cooperation in fields including education, tourism and health, so that China-Cambodia friendship will bring more benefits to the two peoples.
After concluding his trip in Beijing, Hun Manet will attend the opening ceremony of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit held in Nanning City, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on September 17.
Noting China and Cambodia have opened a new era of building a high-quality and high-standard China-Cambodia community with a shared future, Xi said China is ready to work with Cambodia to build a China-Cambodia community with a shared future in a deeper and more practical way.