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Chinese minister pledges aid

Chinese minister pledges aid

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on February 2 concluded his official visit to Cambodia, which aimed to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations. Over the course of his stay in the Kingdom, Jiechi met a number of government officials including Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Sihamoni, who he invited on a return state visit. Jiechi pledged $55 million for road and bridge construction and millions more in soft loans to help Cambodia improve its vastly overburdened power grid, a government spokesman said. The Chinese foreign minister also promised tax-free imports to China for 400 Cambodian products and suggested ways of increasing Chinese tourism to the Kingdom. Tourism is Cambodia's second largest industry and the country is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese, who in 2007 made up the third largest number of arrivals behind South Koreans and the Japanese. China is also Cambodia's largest foreign investor and one of its closest allies.

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