CHINA pledged roughly US$280 million in loans to Cambodia for infrastructure projects during Prime Minister Hun Sen's recent trip to Beijing for the Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit, an official said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong said that during the meeting between Hun Sen and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, China agreed to provide $200 million in loans for the construction of irrigation systems in Battambang province, power transmission lines to Phnom Penh and the repair of a road linking Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces.
He added that China had also agreed to provide another $80 million loan for building a 118km road from Stung Treng province to Banlung, the provincial capital of Ratanakkiri.
"All the overseas missions of Samdech Hun Sen bring back benefits to the country," Hor Namhong told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport after the prime minister's return. "Currently, China is in the process of studying the projects, and the construction will start as soon as this is finished."
Nam Tum, governor of Kampong Thom province, said that National Road 62 had not been repaired since 1979 and that travellers spent at least six hours traversing its 164 km length. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport had already studied the project but was waiting for money, he said.
"We have to build this road because it links to the border and to Preah Vihear temple," Nam Tum said Monday.
"After it is built, there will be an easy way to tour to the temple."
China has eclipsed the rest of the international community as Cambodia's biggest foreign donor.