Cambodia will receive $2 million in financial assistance from the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) project fund for nine projects this year.

The agreement was signed on June 15 by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian, said a ministry press release.

Sokhonn thanked the people and government of China for their continued support for Cambodia and the other member countries of the MLC.

He said that in the past six years, nearly 90 projects in Cambodia have received financial support from the special fund.

“Although these projects are smaller than those that fall under China’s Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], they are a testament to China’s unwavering commitment to development in the Mekong sub-region,” he added.

Sokhonn reaffirmed Cambodia’s commitment to close cooperation to achieving the vision of building a community of common destiny of peace, prosperity and sustainable development.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the assistance is necessary and appropriate for the needs of the Kingdom’s human resource and infrastructure development.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, described the MLC as a development framework that has helped the region.

“Since it began in 2015, Cambodia has launched a number of development projects which connected energy infrastructure while expanding and strengthening regional trade with China,” he said.

He warned that as the superpowers begin to compete more intensely in the region, the Mekong could become politicised. He highlighted the need for regional and ASEAN unity.