At a meeting held via video conferencing on Tuesday, the Cambodia-China Intergovernmental Coordination Committee agreed to combat colour revolutions and the politicisation of Covid-19, as well as cooperate on other issues.
Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong and Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi attended the meeting, which included relevant officials.
A joint press release said: “Both sides have agreed to strengthen experience exchanges on state governance by exchanging visits of top leaders between the two countries to protect from and combat a colour revolution.
“The Chinese side reiterates its stance to support Cambodia’s freedom to choose a country development path based on its actual situation and its efforts to defend integrity, territory, independence and social stability.
“The Cambodian side reiterates its stance to adhere to the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ as well as support the resolution of the Chinese people’s parliament to create a legal system and a national-level law enforcement mechanism in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to maintain national security.”
Namhong and Wang agreed to cooperate on the national defence sector, negotiations on Memorandums of Understanding concerning the health sector, and army development.
Concerning Covid-19, the press release said both sides would work to combat the politicisation of the disease and support the World Health Organisation.
Cambodia thanked the Chinese side for sending specialist doctors, donating medical materials to curb the coronavirus and helping procure raw materials.
Concerning trade, the meeting participants agreed to help develop China’s Belt and Road Initiative and transform Preah Sihanouk province into a multipurpose special economic zone.
The two countries will hold a trade fair to attract Chinese companies to invest in Cambodia with plans to develop the agricultural sector, protect the environment, and raise the people’s living standards.
“The Chinese side will examine the possibility of giving funds to support priority infrastructure development projects in Cambodia, including roads, bridges, electrical networks, dams and irrigation systems.
“The Chinese side will continue to support the raising of people’s living standards in Cambodia,” the press release said.
The South China Sea, a sensitive issue in the region, was also discussed. The Chinese side said it will cooperate with Cambodia and other ASEAN countries to implement a code of conduct regarding the territory.
Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute noted that the Chinese and Cambodian sides have always supported each other regarding Covid-19.
Phea said he didn’t see anything wrong with Cambodia’s support of China’s measures in Hong Kong because Hong Kong was under the sovereignty of China anyway.
Concerning the points about a colour revolution, Phea said Cambodia should be wary of anyone offering assistance to the country because they could have ulterior motives.
“Each country has the right to choose its leadership and its style of development in response to its culture, history and the actual situation,” he said.
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Ou Chanroth said he approved of the two countries cooperating closely.
However, he said Cambodia had to maintain its principles of neutrality and non-interference.
“We should adhere to the principle of neutrality. Don’t make our stance biased towards one side. If it is biased, it creates a crisis for our country.
“This includes biases towards the communist bloc and China. It is doesn’t paint a good picture for our country because the Kingdom has adopted a multi-party liberal democracy.”