An upgraded section of National Road 7, spanning more than 93km in Kratie province, has been officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Hun Sen. The project – worth more than $33 million – was begun in 2016, with funding from China.

At the February 7 inauguration ceremony, Hun Sen said the road was part of Cambodia’s Chinese friend’s assistance in linking the northeast.

He added that Cambodia has gradually established a trio of economic poles, and is eyeing a fourth in the northeastern region, which comprises Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces.

“In addition to Chinese grants, we will soon open the South Korea-financed National Road 48 and will inaugurate the Japanese-funded National Road 5 from Battambang province to neighbouring Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon town. In the coming year, we will see the opening of many more roads and bridges,” he said.

The premier also revealed that construction of a bridge connecting Kratie to Kampong Thom province will be inaugurated in 2023.

Chinese ambassador Wang Wentian said at the ceremony that National Road 7 was a large-scale Chinese grant project to assist Cambodia, and would facilitate and increase the efficient transport of goods across the country. It would play an important role in alleviating poverty, he said.

“It can be said that it was not only an important project in terms of the relationship between China and Cambodia but also a project that was unique in the history of Chinese grants to the world at that time,” he said.

Wang said that after the commissioning of this stretch of national road, China would consider helping to repair more sections of the northern road infrastructure. China was always prepared to provide construction assistance to any sectors in Cambodia that would accept its help, he added.

“National Road 7 is not only a testament to the maturity of Chinese aid to Cambodia over the last 20 years, but also to the development of China-Cambodia friendship and the deepening of our shared common destinies,” he said.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol also said that this new achievement was a symbol of the invaluable and precious bond born of the “ironclad friendship” and cooperation between the governments of the two nations. The people of Kratie – and indeed the whole country – would enjoy its benefits for many years.

Chanthol said that National Road 7 linked Phnom Penh through major provinces such as Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Kratie, Stung Treng and to the fourth economic pole of Cambodia in the northeast of the country. It would serve economic, trade and tourism activities across the Kingdom.

He added that National Road 7 also provided important international road connections and would help promote the development of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area and would transform the more remote parts of the three countries into developed areas.

The project to improve the quality of National Road 7 began with a $33.37 million grant from the Chinese government. Construction got underway in November 2016 and was completed approximately 24 months later in December 2018.

This section of National Road 7 has a total length of 93.56km, and runs from the roundabout in Kapo village of Kratie town’s O’Russey commune to O’Krieng commune’s Romeat village of the province’s Sambor district.