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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China offers election congrats

China offers election congrats

Four days after the close of a hotly contested election, the newly appointed Chinese ambassador met with Prime Minister Hun sen to pass on messages of congratulations and receive assurance that the opposition’s claims of having legitimately beaten the ruling party were unfounded.

Bu Jianguo, who was appointed last month, presented her credentials to Hun Sen yesterday and pledged that the warm bilateral relations between the countries would continue in the wake of Sunday’s elections, the premier’s spokesman, Eang Sophalleth, said.

Hun Sen, in turn, offered a warm welcome to the ambassador and said he was convinced that the formation of the new government and the National assembly would move ahead even should the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party boycott, Sophalleth said.

“China will continue to support Cambodia in all circumstances in order to help this country towards development \and better living conditions for its people,” Sophalleth quoted Bu as telling the premier.

Bu also conveyed best wishes from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on the re-election of Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People's Party, which saw its first-ever decrease in
the number of seats held, winning only 68 based on preliminary results. The CNRP has contested those results and said its own preliminary figures put its party in the lead, while Sam Rainsy has called for Hun sen to step down.

Speaking to reporters at the Peace Palace following the meeting, Sophalleth said Bu expressed confidence that under Hun Sen’s leadership, Cambodia would continue to prosper in all fields. In reply, said Sophalleth, Hun Sen said he believed the relations between the two nations would grow stronger.

The meeting took place just a day after China handed over 1,000 guns and 50,000 bullets, a long-promised donation.

Though the ruling party and China enjoy particularly close ties, said analyst Kem Ley, there was little to suggest that largess or influence had trickled down.

“I think that the Chinese assistance to the ruling party has no impact on all the Cambodian people, if we look at the result of election. Therefore, both the ruling party and the opposition party have to be careful when making decisions because the voters are watching this issue,” Ley said.

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