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PM underlines Sinosphere ties in New Year’s congratulations

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Prime Minister Hun Sen shakes hands with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Phnom Penh in December last year. SPM

PM underlines Sinosphere ties in New Year’s congratulations

Cambodian leaders congratulated people of Chinese and Vietnamese descent on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, but also called for caution while burning Joss paper, incense and candles to avoid fires that might disturb the holiday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen held separate telephone conversations to wish a happy new year to Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on January 29.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hun Sen offered his earnest congratulations for the “great achievements” recently recorded by the government and people of Vietnam.

He lauded the implementation of the 13th Party Congress as well as its efforts against Covid-19 while sustaining socio-economic development under the “new normal”.

“Under the clear-sighted leadership of the president and prime minister, the fraternal people of Vietnam will continue to achieve great achievements in the defence, rebuilding and reformation of the country,” Hun Sen said.

Phuc and Chinh expressed delight and appreciation for Hun Sen’s warm regards and kind wishes, and congratulated Cambodia for its own achievements, especially its effective response against Covid-19 which created preconditions for the full reopening of the economy.

The two Vietnamese leaders expressed confidence that Cambodia will continue to achieve great accomplishments in its development, including the successful organisation of the commune council elections scheduled for June 5 and the general election of 2023. They also expressed hopes that the Kingdom’s chairmanship of ASEAN would prove fruitful.

The Vietnamese leaders and Hun Sen shared the common view that the two countries should continue to work closely together.

“We must prioritise the implementation of all signed agreements and enhance economic connectivity to foster our shared development,” they were quoted as saying in the ministry’s press release.

Separately, National Assembly president Heng Samrin also sent out a statement marking the occasion on January 31.

Samrin said that freedom of religion is guaranteed by Cambodian law and that people must respect each other, regardless of their religious beliefs.

“Harmony in race and religion in Cambodia has enabled us to build a prosperous nation and for people to live as happily as they do today,” he said.

Samrin advised people to be careful with incense candles and Joss paper – also known as “ghost” or “spirit” money – which are traditionally burnt on the holiday. He also called on all citizens to respect all traffic laws and to maintain Covid-19 preventative measures.

Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian said it is an important traditional festival of the Chinese people. Marking the occasion, Wang and his wife produced a video showing how to make traditional noodles, while also noting that Chinese people often eat Har gow, a traditional Cantonese dumpling served in dim sum, during the New Year.

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