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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Red carpet for China's Li Peng

Red carpet for China's Li Peng

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Li Peng snaps a few pictures in Phnom Penh during his visit on May 18-20.

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ambodian officials rolled out the red carpet for Chinese National Assembly leader

Li Peng, who was greeted by several hundred well-wishers at Pochentong Airport at

the start of a three- day visit on May 18.

Peng is the fourth leading Chinese official to visit Cambodia in the past six months,

a solid indicator of the steadily closening ties between the two countries.

Peng, the second-ranking member in China's Communist Party, served as China's premier

during the Tiananmen Square massacre in which pro-democracy demonstrators were gunned

down by Chinese troops. Peng is widely believed to be the leader of a conservative

hard-line faction whch lobbied hard for the crackdown.

His visit re-fueled suspicions that China is seeking to block the passage of the

long-stalled Khmer Rouge tribunal draft law, which has been in limbo since January

over a technical detail. Diplomats have speculated that the Chinese have been pressuring

Cambodia to avoid a trial of former Khmer Rough leaders because of China's support

of the Khmer Rouge regime.

However, Prime Minister Hun Sen told reporters that Peng did not pressure him about

the issue on this visit. Hun Sen reportedly asked Peng for $60 million in aid for

infrastructure development and demobilization.

Peng capped his visit with sight-seeing in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, as well as meetings

with National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Senate President Chea

Sim, and the local Chinese business community. ·He left on May 21 for Brunei

and South Korea.

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