Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated the significance of the formation of the Kingdom’s fourth economic pole of the “diamond cooperation” framework with China.

He addressed more than 20,000 workers in the Sihanoukville Special Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) on May 22, the tenth anniversary of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He also attended the inauguration of a new tyre factory, the Kingdom’s largest.

“Chinese president Xi Jinping and I have agreed on the diamond cooperation framework. It is aimed at driving political cooperation and improving the production capacity and quality of agriculture, as well as the development of Cambodia’s industrial and technological corridors,” he said.

“The SSEZ is a place where industrial and technological development will take place, but another economic pole – the fourth – will base on the production of rice and fish. This will include Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin provinces,” he added.

He also said that he had already responded to the Xi’s invitation to attend the third meeting of the BRI in China this October.

He noted that the visit would be under the new government, as it would occur after the upcoming 7th mandate national election on July 23.

‘Economic growth engine’

Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian described 2023 as a significant year for the friendship between China and Cambodia.

When Hun Sen visited China in February, he and Xi jointly announced the opening of a new era of building a common destiny. The two leaders also agreed to establish the diamond cooperation framework, with six priority areas.

Those six areas are: Political cooperation, production capacity and quality, agriculture, energy, security, and people-to people exchanges.

Wang said the SSEZ was a model for the practical benefits of the BRI cooperation between China and Cambodia, after 10 years of hard work and fruitful results.

“The zone has become the engine of economic development in the province, and place where many local entrepreneurs have earned their fortunes,” he added.

“We hope that all of the companies that invest here will take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to the common destiny of the two nations, and strive to create the 2.0 form of the SSEZ,” he concluded.