On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian recalled the “amazing” achievements and paths to development that have emerged from the iron-clad friendship between China and Cambodia.
In an article entitled “Remembering the Glorious 100 Years of History at the start of a Fresh Chapter in Sino-Cambodian Friendship” published on June 29, Wang said that globally there will always be some people who do not like to see other countries with different management systems and political theories become highly developed and there are others who will always become worried when people in developing countries begin to build better lives for themselves.
Wang was apparently alluding to China’s growing rivalry with the US and its allies.
He said critics always paint a negative picture of China and the CPC as part of an ongoing campaign to damage and undermine the relationship between the CPC and the Chinese people.
Now, Wang said, these same divide-and-conquer tactics are being employed by those adversarial powers in an attempt to destroy the relationship between China and Cambodia, an effort that he said is completely doomed to failure.
“The iron-clad ties between China and Cambodia render our nations inseparable, and the ‘common destiny community’ between the two countries is stronger than gold.
“We cannot forget that during the first outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the Royal Government of Cambodia announced that it would not ban flights from China and would not discriminate against Chinese people nor evacuate Cambodian diplomats and students from China,” he said.
Wang wrote that during the pandemic King Norodom Sihamoni and the Queen Mother both visited China, and Prime Minister Hun Sen paid a visit to China as well.
After the outbreak of Covid-19 in Cambodia, he said the Chinese government and military sent a team of medics to Cambodia to provide anti-viral equipment of various types.
Although China has a large demand for vaccines given that it has the largest population in the world, it has still made Cambodia a priority destination for vaccine shipments and has delivered a large number of vaccines here, accounting for 95 per cent of the total number of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, Wang noted.
Despite the difficult conditions caused by Covid-19, China-Cambodia trade continued to grow in 2020, totaling more than $9.56 billion, he said.
Major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects have been smoothly implemented in Cambodia, such as the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone project, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway project, the rural water supply project and the Morodok Techo National Stadium project.
He also recalled that in October 2020, both China and Cambodia signed a historic free trade agreement, and Cambodia’s high-quality products are increasingly being exported to the Chinese market and are now present in Chinese homes, such as bananas, mangoes and fish.
“We recall this history to review our experiences … and create a beautiful future.
“Together we help and support each other, and our achievements will be inscribed in the beautiful history of the relationship between China and Cambodia. This will one day be a great and glorious history,” he said.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post on June 29 that it was Cambodia’s policy to adhere to a non-aligned foreign policy despite the aid provided by China, because Cambodia’s sovereignty was to be respected and upheld.
“In that regard, we would like to thank China and our good Chinese friends for respecting Cambodia’s sovereignty and independence,” he said.
Siphan said that in the context of the two nations’ bilateral relations, Cambodia’s problem is China’s problem and vice versa. He noted that Cambodia operates within the framework of the ASEAN Code of Conduct and the country’s commitment to ASEAN’s principles.
“In the future, I believe that Cambodia’s economy will continue to grow along with China and the 10 ASEAN member states. In ASEAN, we are looking for development partners and not geopolitical partners,” he said.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on June 29 that for the long-term future, he thinks that Cambodia-China relations will continue to be strong, prosperous and deep because both countries have many common strategic interests.
“The geopolitical competition [between China and the US] will only serve to push [Cambodia and China] closer together … as the current cooperation and mutual assistance between the two is deep,” he said.