Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom urged to self-promote

Kingdom urged to self-promote

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Vithit Powattanasuk speaks about promoting Asean-China relations in China’s Anhui province late last month. Kun Kourchettana

Kingdom urged to self-promote

During an Asean-Anhui media tour in China’s Anhui province, The Post’s Kun Kourchettana sat down with Vithit Powattanasuk, director of the Information and Public Relations division of Beijing’s Asean-China Center (ACC), to talk about the importance of media and how Cambodia can benefit from closer ties between Asean and China.

What is the ACC and what role does it play in media?

The ACC is an organisation founded by 11 countries of Asean and China in 2009. In 2011, we started operating this centre in Beijing. It comprises of several officials from China and Asean. At the moment, I am one of two Asean officials who work here. We aim to promote cooperation between Asean countries and China. Practical cooperation focuses on six aspects – trade, investment, education, culture, tourism and media.

What is the purpose of the Asean-Anhui media tour?

The ACC and the Anhui provincial government are co-hosts. This is the fourth year that the Anhui government has invited media from Asean to visit. It shows that the relationship is getting better, and there are more transactions of business and greater investment. That’s why the local government of Anhui still invites media to promote their cities every year.

Should Asean countries copy this model to promote its members?

Definitely. China wants the Asean media to understand the country better. We should make the change to let Chinese media know more about Asean as well. It is very important for both sides to learn from each other, and one effective way is to use media as a bridge for better understanding.

How will Cambodia benefit if the government organises such an event?

For one, understanding will improve. China is a big country with 1.4 billion people. The more Chinese know about Cambodia, the more interest they will have in going there. So, the first and very important thing is that you have to let the Chinese know about your country. The Chinese government always invites the Cambodian media to their country. They would like you to tell your people about China because they cannot reach every single Cambodian. I believe Cambodia must do the same thing. You cannot wait for someone to promote you . . . you have to do it yourself.

The ACC is willing to be a partner for such a campaign to ensure that people know more about your country. Chinese tourists already know about Cambodia. However they know only Angkor Wat. You have more beautiful places to tell potential visitors about. That’s why the media is so very important. The Cambodian government must do something of its own to invite Chinese media and promote your country. The ACC will be your partner and help ensure that your effort is successful.

Asean-Chinese business and investment ties are now closer than ever. Will this relationship continue to grow?

What we are seeing now is an increasing volume of trade, investment, travel and educational cooperation. The trend is still very bright. China has a policy of opening up the country and it regards Asean as a good neighbour and partner.

In general, many Asean countries have done better with China in different sectors. For instance, in my home country of Thailand we welcome nearly 10 million Chinese tourists per year. Malaysia is number one in welcoming investment from China. Singapore is the top Asean country investing in China, while Vietnam leads in volume of trade between an Asean country and China. I believe the Chinese government intends to get closer with Cambodia. Everyone knows that they have already pushed hard to promote industries in Sihanoukville. This is a good sign that in the years to come, Cambodia could be at the top in some aspect of the relationship with China.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Analyst: Rainsy blocked from boarding flight 'an excuse'

    THAI Airways not allowing Sam Rainsy on its route from Paris to Bangkok on Thursday is being used as an excuse to keep his standing among fellow coup plotters and his uninformed supporters as flights to non-Asean countries are available, an analyst said on Friday.

  • Rainsy lands in Malaysia

    Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris, where he has been living for more than four years. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected

  • Touch: Rainsy will never return

    Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has claimed it has achieved 70 per cent of its struggle to find a solution to the current political situation in the Kingdom. Just before boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • MEPs' call for Rainsy's safety not European Parliament position

    The European Parliament said on Friday that a statement by 56 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) calling for guarantees of Sam Rainsy’s freedom and safety should he return to Cambodia did not represent its position. Delphine Colard, the European Parliament’s press officer told

  • Sar Kheng: Rainsy return not blocked

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng clarified that Cambodia had never blocked Sam Rainsy from returning to the Kingdom. However, he said Cambodia reserved the right to take legal action as allowed by law against activities aimed at destroying the Kingdom. “No one blocked the return