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Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomes Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Phnom Penh’s Peace Palace
Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomes Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Phnom Penh’s Peace Palace. HENG CHIVOAN

Chinese minister urges peace

China yesterday urged the ruling party and opposition to pursue a peaceful settlement to the current electoral stand-off while simultaneously welcoming a Cambodian People’s Party “victory”.

Speaking at a joint press briefing yesterday after meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that the political parties should negotiate to preserve social and economic stability.

“China is a good partner of Cambodia, and we hope that political parties in Cambodia will peacefully negotiate for the sake of forming a National Assembly and a new government soon,” he said.

“Today, I wish and express my warmest congratulations to welcome the victory of Samdech Techo [Hun Sen].”

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong extended his thanks yesterday on behalf of the Cambodian government for Chinese “support of the election result”. Yi and other senior Chinese delegates arrived in the Kingdom on Tuesday for a two-day official visit.

The Chinese minister held separate meetings with Hun Sen and Namhong yesterday that were focused on furthering bilateral cooperation.

“I would like to re-affirm that China will continue to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries and that China will thoroughly support Cambodia in preventing [any act] of external disturbance,” Wang said.

He did not elaborate on where such “disturbances” could come from.

A commentary published by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency last week called for the international community to stay out of Cambodia’s post-election affairs, pinpointing US lawmakers’ threats to cut aid.

According to the government, China has provided more than $2.8 billion in aid and loans to Cambodia since 1992.

Several large infrastructure projects involving Chinese state-owned companies are in the works, including a $2.3 billion joint venture to build the Kingdom’s first oil refinery that was signed late last year.

A Chinese handover of 1,000 handguns and 50,000 rounds of ammunition to the National Police just two days after the election raised eyebrows among analysts who questioned the timing of the delivery, though authorities maintained it was coincidental.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEVIN PONNIAH

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