China will support the Cambodian government “in resisting Western intimidation”, Wang Tianxiang, the deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Division of Southeast Asian Affairs said, as bilateral relations reach “new heights”.
On Cambodia possibly losing access to the EU’s “Everything But Arms” agreement, with the 28-nation bloc having launched the official withdrawal process, Wang stressed that China respected the Kingdom’s sovereignty and independence.
“China respects the future choices of Cambodia’s people and will support the government and Cambodians to be the master of their own house."
“China will support the decision of the Cambodian government in resisting any intimidation or force from the West,” Wang said at a press briefing on Monday.
Any cooperation or assistance that China provides to Cambodia is unconditional, Wang told The Post.
“Many Western countries will ask Cambodia to do something [in return] when giving assistance. They will ask Cambodia to be more democratic, more open, to respect human rights and release opposition political personalities."
“But China has a philosophy that we should let the Cambodian people decide their own matters,” he said.
Wang said he believed that people in Cambodia are capable of deciding what should or should not be in their terms of business.
“When we [China] discuss business, we simply just talk about business. We don’t impose any restrictions on you [Cambodia],” he said.
Commenting on bilateral relations between the two nations, he said they had “reached new heights” and that Cambodia and China have been “very close friends and neighbours over the past years”.
“As we know, [China and Cambodia] recently signed a memorandum of understanding [MoU] on the establishment of a community of shared future”, Wang said.
He praised Cambodia as “the first country in the world that has ever signed such an agreement with China”.
The collaboration demonstrated “good neighbourly relations” between China and Cambodia, he said, in addition to the support that the former has been providing for the “national development” of the Kingdom.
Wang said China has been assisting Cambodia “with the construction of national roads, electricity towers, dams and other infrastructure”.
“In the future, we will continue supporting the Cambodian people and the country’s role in Asean as well as in the region. Our bilateral relations have reached new heights,” he stressed.
Noting that Cambodia’s relationship with China had reached a crucial stage, Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, on Wednesday said China had strong geopolitical influences in the region and the world but faces strong criticism over “debt traps”.
“If China’s cooperation with Cambodia does not improve the Kingdom, it will not become an example for other countries."
“China has been criticised before by countries that fell into its debt trap, such as Sri Lanka and some African countries,” Phea told The Post.