Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cambodia, China celebrate 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties

June 20, 2013
PHNOM PENH, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia and China on Wednesday jointly celebrated the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, vowing to further enhance the ties to a new high level.

The event was highly attended by President of Cambodia's National Assembly Heng Samrin, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, members of the Cambodian government, parliament, and senate, and foreign diplomatic corps to Cambodia as well as Chinese and Cambodian business people.

Speaking at the celebratory ceremony, Hor Namhong said that 55 years ago, the diplomatic relations between the two countries were established by the high guidance of Cambodia's late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former Chinese President Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai.

"Over the past 55 years, the multi-faceted relations and the closeness between our two countries have been consolidated from day to day," he said. "The leaders of the two countries have constantly exchanged visits and the bilateral cooperation has been flourished and strengthened in all fields, particularly investment, trade, tourism and culture."

He said the year 2013 is also the Cambodia-China Year of Friendship, and various programs and activities have been widely organized to celebrate this year of friendship.

"On behalf of the government and people of Cambodia, I'd like to extend our deep gratitude to the government and people of China for the invaluable contribution to the socio-economic development of Cambodia," he said, reiterating that Cambodia always adhered to One-China Policy.

"I am firmly confident that through the traditional relations of friendship and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation between our two countries, the bilateral ties will surely be further developed and strengthened," he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue said the good ties between China and Cambodia have served as a role model of friendship between countries of different social systems.

"I am convinced that, with the care of our leaders and the efforts of peoples of both countries, China and Cambodia will further deepen political mutual trust, improve cooperation of mutual benefit and enhance understanding and communications, so as to propel our friendly ties to a new high level," he said.

Chheang Vannarith, executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, told Xinhua in an interview in April that the bilateral relationship between Cambodia and China has reached the top level after the two countries' leaders have fostered it for 55 years.

"Now, the relationship has entered its 55th year, and it is regarded as time-honored relationship," said Chheang Vannarith, who is also a lecturer of Asia Pacific Studies at the Leeds University in the United Kingdom.

In the last decade, he said, China has emerged to be the key actor in Cambodia in almost all dimensions ranging from development assistance, to trade and investment, from security and defense cooperation to cultural and educational exchanges.

China is one of the top providers of development assistance to Cambodia. Loans and grants from China during the period of 1992 to present have amounted for 2.7 billion U.S. dollars, according to Cambodia's Finance Ministry.

In terms of economic cooperation, China is the top investor in Cambodia. According to the figures of the Council for Development of Cambodia, from 1994 to 2012, total Chinese investment in Cambodia has reached 9.17 billion U.S. dollars.

On the bilateral trade, China is also one of the leading trading partners for Cambodia. Last year, the bilateral trade volume accounted for 2.9 billion U.S. dollars and it is expected to reach 5 billion U.S. dollars by 2017.

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