At the opening ceremony of the second Cambodia-China think tank forum on the development of Cambodian-Chinese bilateral relations on July 28, Bin Chhin – permanent deputy prime minister and acting minister in charge of the Council of Ministers – said the forum would strengthen and expand their friendship and increase mutual understanding between their peoples.
“I’d like to request that the Chinese side continue to assist the International Relations Institute of Cambodia (IRIC) by holding these forums more frequently, especially to support research to assist the deepening of the relationship between our governments,” he said.
The forum was attended by senior officials from both countries. The Cambodian side included the permanent deputy prime minister, ministers, secretaries of state and other heads of institutions under the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC).
The Chinese side included members of the central committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), chairman of the CPC’s propaganda committee, deputy ministers, senior academics and researchers.
Chhin said the forum was an opportunity for Cambodian and Chinese researchers to meet and discuss enhancement of mutual understanding.
“The forum today is just the beginning. There is still a lot of work that the scholars and researchers of our two countries need to do to contribute to strengthening and expanding relations between our two countries as well as improving relations with the rest of the region,” he said.
He urged the RAC’s IRIC to come up with an actionable plan to select relevant scholarship and research articles to disseminate widely to the people of both countries and for the benefit of future generations of scholars.
At the ceremony, RAC president Sok Touch said that at the political level the relationship between the two countries is now a source of pride and joy, but at the level of the average citizen the relationship is still being impacted by some commonly held negative conceptions.
“This situation requires us – the scholars – to sit at the same table to discuss and address the challenges of the past and present and find appropriate solutions to provide to the governments of our two countries to help build a bridge between our two peoples, Cambodian and Chinese,” Touch said.
Tout Panha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said at the ceremony that the two countries will continue to work hard to plan a comprehensive strategy for cooperation between Cambodia and China.
“We will continue to promote bilateral cooperation – especially the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative – which will greatly benefit the socio-economic and cultural development of our people and our countries,” she said.