Li: Cooperation with Cambodia should rise

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Premier Li Keqiang called on Monday for strengthened practical cooperation with Cambodia in areas including agriculture, infrastructure, energy, telecommunications and water resources.

China encourages its enterprises to invest in the Southeast Asian country and import its competitive agricultural products such as rice, Li said at a meeting with visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Premier Li Keqiang and visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen inspect the guard of honor in Beijing on Sunday. [Photo: China Daily] 

Hun Sen is the first foreign leader that Li has received since becoming premier in March.

Analysts said the close relationship between the two countries has set a good example for others and has great potential for further development.

Li said the two countries have become "true friends and good partners that share weal and woe", adding that China will firmly stick its policy of friendship with Cambodia.

China will continue to support Cambodia's efforts to enhance its ability to develop and improve its people's livelihoods, he said.

The two countries should enhance strategic communication and have timely exchanges and coordination on bilateral relations and major issues of common concern, said the premier.

Li also urged the two sides to strengthen communication and coordination in international organizations and regional affairs.

China is willing to promote practical cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in trade, science and technology, communication and maritime issues to promote regional peace and development, he added.

Hun Sen said China's development has provided important opportunities for Cambodia and other developing countries.

He thanked China for its help and support in promoting Cambodia's socioeconomic development.

Cambodia welcomes and will provide convenience for more Chinese enterprises and tourists to the country, he said.

Enhancing cooperation between China and ASEAN will benefit both sides, and Cambodia will continue to play a positive role in this regard, said Hun Sen.

After their meeting, the two sides signed a number of deals, including agreements on economic and technical cooperation, loans by China to Cambodia for bridge and irrigation system development, grant aid for a vocational school on agriculture and a memorandum of understanding on an oil refinery project.

They also signed an action plan on the implementation of the China-Cambodia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation.

Xu Liping, an expert on Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that the cooperation deals are mostly about poverty reduction, an area in which China is experienced and can assist Cambodia.

The two countries have plenty of room to cooperate in multilateral forums including the East Asia Summit and China-ASEAN meetings, said Xu, noting that Hun Sen has clearly stated that Cambodia supports China's core interests.

"The two countries should carry on and further deepen their friendly relationship," Xu said.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties.

A series of events will celebrate the anniversary and the 2013 China-Cambodia Friendship Year.

Pan Guangxue, China's ambassador to Cambodia, said the two countries have formed a profound friendship through mutual support in the pursuit of national independence and prosperity.

"As an ambassador, I am deeply impressed by the two countries' mutual understanding, support, high-level mutual trust and people's friendship," he said in an article published in People's Daily.

China-Cambodia bilateral trade reached $2.92 billion in 2012. The countries have set a target of $5 billion by 2017.

By March, China's investment in Cambodia reached around $9.2 billion, accounting for 34 percent of all foreign investment in the country.

Premier Li Keqiang also met Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso on Monday.


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