Prime Minister Hun Sen sent a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulating China on the successful landing of the Chinese spacecraft Zhurong on Mars.
In his letter dated May 18, Hun Sen said: “On behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Your Excellency, the Chinese government and the people of China on the successful landing of the Zhurong spacecraft on Mars as part of the Tianwen-1 mission.”
On May 15, the Chinese spacecraft Zhurong successfully landed on the Red Planet. It departed Earth from the Wenchang launch site in China’s Hainan province on July 23 last year.
Hun Sen said that this is a milestone achievement highlighting China’s continued progress in its space programme and interplanetary exploration.
He said he strongly believes that this “great achievement” will significantly contribute to China’s outer space research mission, which in turn will benefit the scientific development of mankind.
“Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurance of my highest regards for you and my best wishes for your good health, happiness and continued success in leading China to a brighter future,” Hun Sen wrote.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post on May 19 that Hun Sen’s congratulatory letter not only demonstrated close relations between the two countries but also highlighted an achievement in space research mission by an Asian country.
“This is the first successful attempt for the [East Asian] people, who now have the ability to land on the Moon and Mars.
“China is a close friend of Cambodia. In that sense, we can exchange experiences between China and Cambodia in the digital [Industry] 4.0 era,” he said.
Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun told The Post on May 19 that Hun Sen’s letter was a diplomatic gesture recognising China’s achievement in landing a spacecraft on Mars.
“China’s achievement here is also a flexing of their muscles that showcases their technological advancement as one of the most powerful countries in the world,” Chanroeun said.
Political and trade relations with China have flourished in recent years, with more investment from China coming to Cambodia than from any other country in the world, he said.
But one thing that Cambodia has not yet obtained from China is a transfer of knowledge and technical skills and technology access from China, he noted.
“Even technology investments such as broadband internet do not yet exist. As a Cambodian citizen who works on social development, I want to see the transfer of knowledge, skills and training related to what China can do for Cambodians.
“I want to see this in order to build a foundation for our people in the fields of education and training, so that our people and especially our youth – who are the majority of the people in our society – have sufficient skills to develop our national society in all fields, rather than sending our unskilled workers to work in other countries, such as Thailand or South Korea,” he said.