Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia keeps expanding China ties for trade, security

Cambodia keeps expanding China ties for trade, security

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen (centre right) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang preside over an MoU signing ceremony on November 9. SPM

Cambodia keeps expanding China ties for trade, security

The past year saw bilateral relations between Cambodia and China continue to develop on a positive trajectory, with at least 10 important new agreements signed, according to the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh.

In a press statement, the embassy noted that seven of the 10 agreements were on military cooperation in areas such as the strategic relationship between their armed forces, training assistance and training exercises involving both militaries, and the provision of equipment and weapons to Cambodia.

The Chinese army provided security equipment and vehicles for use at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting in the Kingdom, and also plans to assist with the construction of buildings on the compound of the Army Institute of Cambodia.

China has also provided assistance to support the project to improve the Ream Naval Base facility located on Cambodia’s southern coast. The embassy said the assistance demonstrated a commitment by the Chinese navy to assisting the Kingdom with the modernisation of its naval forces.

San Chey, executive director of the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said that though the diplomacy and international relations between Cambodia and China are an “ironclad” friendship with a strong foundation of support in each nation, their political systems are in fact quite opposite to each other in many ways. He explained that Cambodia was founded as a liberal democracy with political pluralism based on its Constitution and the rule of law, whereas China adopted communism long ago.

He added that this has therefore led to the worry on the part of some that China’s influence on Cambodia would turn it into a one-party state with no rights or freedoms.

“At the international level, we don’t object to having very close or ironclad friends, but what we want to see is that we prevent China from increasing its political influence on Cambodia to the point that it affects democracy here,” he said.

The embassy noted that in 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping had discussed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement with Prime Minister Hun Sen on the phone.

The first expressway in Cambodia was built by a Chinese state construction company using loans and financing from China and began operation in 2022, cutting the travel time from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville down to two hours from five on National Road 4 previously.

Other diplomatic exchanges and visits of note included King Norodom Sihamoni attending the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in China and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visiting Cambodia, as well as a group of Chinese leaders attending the Leaders’ Meetings on East Asia Cooperation hosted by the Kingdom.

The embassy added that in 2022, Cambodia also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and the 10th anniversary of his passing, which was also observed at events honouring his memory in China, where he was a frequent visitor and guest.


  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry using ChatGPT AI to ‘ease workload’; Khmer version planned

    The Digital Government Committee is planning to make a Khmer language version of popular artificial intelligence (AI) technology ChatGPT available to the public in the near future, following extensive testing. On March 9, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications revealed that it has been using the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to