Cambodia has received $400 million in loans, grants and investment projects from
China, including a $60 million loan for naval patrol craft.
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen signed five
agreements guaranteeing funds during the second summit of the Greater Mekong
Subregion (GMS). The two met in the capital of southwest China's Yunnan province
on July 4 and 5, said Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs on July
"The loans and investment project of China will give a lot of benefit
to Cambodia," Namhong said.
Tea Banh, minister of defense, told the Post
on July 12 that work on approximately seven naval vessels has already begun in a
Chinese warship factory and hoped that the additional ships would be completed
within two years.
"It is difficult to tell you a concrete number, but
there are many and different kinds of vessels," Tea Banh said.
not comment on what kind of ships would be supplied or what weapons they would
carry, but said they would not be "empty boats."
Banh said that the
existing naval fleet of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces is very old and no
longer capable of fighting crime, such as drug smuggling and trafficking, on
"I think that the warships will not only help to refrain
the activities of smuggling on the Cambodia seas, but also terrorists," Banh
Namhong said that other spending initiatives negotiated in China
include $300 million to build and operate a 180-megawatt hydropower plant at
Phnom Kamchay and $30 million to build a new Council of Ministers building.
China will also donate 200 water pumps, 30 fire trucks and an additional loan
for construction on Route 7 that connects Dong Krolor to the Laotian border.
Previously, China loaned Cambodia $62 million to build Route 7, a 186-km highway
linking Stung Treng province with Laos.
China also promised to encourage
its investors and tourists to come to Cambodia, Namhong said.
countries of China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam established a
regional bloc in 1992, agreeing to focus their cooperation on five strategic
areas: infrastructure, investment facilitation, participation of private-owed
enterprises, human resources and environmental development.
general secretary of the Council of the Development of Cambodia, said that
leaders of the six countries agreed to focus on economic cooperation to boost
economic growth and the reduction of poverty.
The leaders also agreed to
work towards a single tourist visa that is valid in all GMS countries.
During the first GMS summit, held in Phnom Penh in 2002, former Chinese
Prime Minister Zhu Rongji offered a $12.5 million aid and interest-free loan
package and agreed to cancel debt owed by Cambodia.
However, an MP from
the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) said that the loans and grants from China
never come with conditions of government reform, in contrast to other donors who
use bilateral aid to improve the social and economic development of the
"I think that loans and grants from China ... would not help
much to improve the economy or democracy, but would only encourage the ruling
party toward more dictatorship," said Keo Remy, SRP member of
Remy further criticized the government's policy of
awarding forestry and land concessions to Chinese companies and highlighted
demonstrations against Chinese-owned garment factories.