Prime Minister Hun Sen returned from attending a meeting of Asian leaders in Beijing yesterday with promises of hundreds of millions of dollars of development assistance, a senior minister said.
Kao Kim Hourn, an official attached to the prime minister, told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday that Hun Sen had secured annual development loans of between $500 million and $700 million from its ally and patron, China.
“It was only a short visit to China, but Samdech [Hun Sen] was very busy and I think that it bore fruit, especially because he persuaded giant Chinese private companies to invest in Cambodia, as well as holding discussions with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping,” he said.
“The Chinese government strongly supports Cambodia’s national development and Xi stressed that Chinese support will continue.”
He added that China would give Cambodia $700 million, but it was not clear how much would be in loans and how much would be grants.
“We need grant aid and interest-free loans, but we don’t know what we will be given yet,” he said.
Also following the meeting in Beijing, China announced it would invest $40 billion in a scheme to establish a “Silk Road infrastructure fund” to better connect Asian countries, including Cambodia.
In a joint statement released after the meeting, the countries pledged to work towards further connecting their economies by “strengthening connectivity, which is conducive to identifying new growth point[s] and fostering new competitive edge”, while offering a “new driving force for Asian cooperation and sustained prosperity”.
“We acknowledge that developing countries, particularly landlocked countries, are facing restrictions in terms of high transport and trade transaction cost, access to financing and technology, and natural conditions … in achieving connectivity,” the statement said. “The international community including transit countries should redouble their efforts in providing assistance and support”.