On his visit to China, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the Asian giant and global power has helped strengthen the Kingdom’s economy and independence against external forces which used all available means to try and topple his government.
The Cambodian leader’s official visit to China is scheduled to last four days from Sunday to Wednesday.
Hun Sen told 468 Cambodian students in the Chinese capital that Beijing had helped prevent an attempt to overthrow his government, and he hit back at criticisms from some foreign countries that he had given land away to China, Fresh News reported on Monday.
“China’s assistance has boosted economic growth and strengthened independence against external interference, which aims to topple the Cambodian government in all [ways]."
“The accusations by certain countries [of giving land away to China] comes because they have seen much investment flowing into the Kingdom while they have done nothing to help Cambodia. Countries all across the world are working to attract more Chinese tourists, including Cambodia’s neighbours who are also attracting Chinese visitors and investors,” he said.
The prime minister’s trip will help to further strengthen Sino-Cambodian friendship and cooperation, the prime minister posted on his official Facebook page on Sunday.
The Cambodian government will put in efforts to promote the cooperation across all sectors, particularly economic, trade, investment and tourism, he said.
In 2017, Cambodia received 1.2 million Chinese visitors, and last year their numbers increased to 1.9 million.
Last year, Hun Sen said, the Kingdom planned to attract at least 0.01 per cent of the Chinese population, but from this year Cambodia aims to receive at least 0.05 per cent of the 1.3 billion Chinese people.
As well as China, Cambodia needed to expand its export markets into Africa, the Middle East and South Korea, the prime minister continued.
“Cambodia has to put in efforts to expand and strengthen its markets [further than just] the US and the EU in order to export its agricultural goods and other products abroad."
“At present, bilateral trade between Cambodia and China has increased to $6.6 billion,” his Facebook page read.
Hun Sen vowed before the Cambodian students in Beijing that he would not let a single Cambodian die of hunger while the world is currently unpredictable.
Sok Touch, the president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that as an experienced politician, Hun Sen was adept at countering any possible problem in the future.
“The person holding the power is [Hun Sen]. Since 1979 he has experienced many problems, so he needs to have strategies to counter them."
“It is different from [opposition politicians] who do not know [strategy and would] push Cambodia back to the period of hunger."
“This can happen at any time. [Take] Syria and Libya, which were a paradise for the people – but not a paradise of democracy – and in the blink of an eye they have become places of starvation and [suffering] catastrophe,” he said.
On his sixth official visit to China, Prime Minister Hun Sen is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping; Premier Li Keqiang; Li Zhanshu, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
He will also meet Wang Yang, the chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; Song Tao, the head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China; and many Chinese investors.