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China to foot bill for new National Assembly offices

National Assembly president Heng Samrin speaks with Li Yuanchao, the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing last week during a four-day official visit. Photo supplied
National Assembly president Heng Samrin speaks with Li Yuanchao, the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing last week during a four-day official visit. Photo supplied

China to foot bill for new National Assembly offices

Just days after Cambodia was accused of watering down an ASEAN statement on the South China Sea, China promised to pay for a $16 million, 12-floor administration building for the National Assembly during a visit of delegates to the country led by Assembly President Heng Samrin last week.

Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long said yesterday that China would donate the funds, but said details were still being finalised and a formal agreement had not yet been signed.

“Because of the development of democracy in Cambodia and [the expectation that] a new political party could get seats in the National Assembly, including new staff, we need the building to work in,” Peng Long said, confirming the new structure would be built in the current National Assembly complex.

Eng Chhay Eang, a CNRP parliamentarian, said the current building and parking lot are too small for members and their staff, and said he supported having a building where “members and officials [can] work properly”.

But political analyst Ou Virak said relying so much on aid from China could lead to Cambodia “becom[ing] the tool of the superpower”.

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