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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the Celebration Ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this year. Wang Zhao/AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the Celebration Ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this year. Wang Zhao/AFP

Phnom Penh preparing for Xi Jinping’s visit

Security preparations are underway for a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to arrive in Cambodia next month.

A Chinese delegation, including China’s deputy minister of public security, Wang Xiaohong, visited Phnom Penh earlier this week. The group met with high-ranking members of the government and the security services, including Interior Minister Sar Kheng, National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun, and the capital’s police chief Chuon Sovann.

According to Savoeun’s Facebook page, the parties discussed the upcoming visit, with the Chinese assured that all institutions were ready to cooperate. Savoeun also thanked Deputy Minister Wang for equipment and training, which his ministry had provided in the past.

Cambodia’s state press agency noted that next month’s visit, the date of which has not been released, would be Jinping’s second, following a trip in 2009 when he was vice-president.

Cambodia is increasingly seen as one of Beijing’s closest regional allies. It has received billions of dollars in Chinese aid and loans, while also openly supporting China’s position on the South China Sea dispute – to the annoyance of members of the regional ASEAN bloc.

Kung Phoak, co-founder and president of the Cambodia Institute for Strategic Studies, said the visit would further solidify the countries’ close ties. “Of course this is important because President Xi is the leader of the second-biggest economy in the world, [and] his visit to Cambodia signifies the importance of the relationship between the two countries,” Phoak said.

“The two countries have a lot of cooperation, especially in economics, and also politics and security. In recent years they are also expanding in the areas of cultural exchange and people-to-people relations. I think there’s a lot on the table.”

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