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PM preps pen for China

The Cambodian and Chinese governments will sign off on more than $100 million in concessional loans, and ink a $1.67 billion memorandum of understanding for a long-planned oil refinery project when Prime Minister Hun Sen visits China this weekend.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koy Kuong said that during the stay officials will sign concessional loan agreements for nearly a dozen national development projects.

“Every visit of Samdach Prime Minister Hun Sen to China always brings back a giant benefit for the nation,” said Kuong.

During the four-day visit that begins Saturday, Hun Sen will meet with China’s newly appointed leaders, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqian and National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang. He will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Australian counterpart, Julia Gillard, according to a Foreign Affairs Ministry press release.

Among the projects the governments are expected to sign off on are a concessional loan for the Koh Thom bridge in Kandal, on which construction began last month; a concessional loan for a vocational school in Kratie; and a 300 million yuan ($48.4 million) agreement on “economic and technical co-operation”.

The largest project by far, however, is a five million tonne oil refinery first announced in 2011 but which appeared to have stalled until December 2012, when Cambodian Petrochemical Company and Sinomach China Perfect Machinery Industry Corp jointly unveiled their plans.

Construction on the 80-hectare plant, located in Preah Sihanouk and Kampot provinces, is slated to take a year-and-a-half to complete. When it opens – shortly before Chevron’s off-shore Block A is supposed to begin producing oil – company officials are hopeful it will shift Cambodia to an oil-exporting country.

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