Outgoing Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian has lauded the newly-christened Xi Jinping Boulevard as a symbol of the two nation’s long ties, highlighting the name as a link to the rule of King Father Norodom Sihanouk.

Prime Minister Hun Manet and Wang attended the naming ceremony in Phnom Penh on May 28, following a farewell meeting.

During the event, Wang recalled that in 1965, former King Norodom Sihanouk, then head of state of Cambodia, named “Mao Tse‐tung Boulevard”, in honour of the founder of the People’s Republic of China.

“Sixty years later, today, Manet has named another major road in the capital as ‘Xi Jinping Blvd’. This is another major milestone that shows that the two countries’ relations have a long, strong history and must continue from the past and push towards a new future,” he said.

“The Chinese side is pleased to work with Cambodia to continue on the glorious path of preserving the legacy of this ironclad friendship, creating a greater and brighter Sino-Cambodia community with a shared future in the new era,” added Wang.

Manet said at the event that under the care and encouragement of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Cambodian leaders, relations between the two countries have reached their best levels in history, according to the Chinese embassy.

“To express my deep gratitude to Xi for his historic contributions to the development of Cambodia, my government has decided to name the capital’s third ring road as ‘Xi Jinping Boulevard’ to continue the legacy of the existing ‘Mao Tse‐tung Boulevard’ in Phnom Penh and show the strength of the historical friendship between Cambodia and China,” he was quoted as saying.

According to Manet, China has helped build nearly 4,000km of roads in Cambodia.

The 53km ring road links National Road 4 in the capital’s Choam Chao III commune with National Road 1 in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district.

Yang Poeu, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that many major boulevards in Phnom Penh are named after dignitaries with good relations with Cambodia.

“Several roads are named after Kings of Cambodia or the leaders of friendly countries. Among them are one named after Kim Il-sung, the former president of North Korea and Mao Tse-tung,” he said.

Poeu applauded the naming of “Xi Jinping Boulevard” as China provides more grants and loans for the construction of transport infrastructure in Cambodia than any other country.

He added that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is also an important political initiative which has benefited Cambodia.

“The naming of the ring road confirms the importance of the BRI, because the ring road encircles the city and represents the BRI infrastructure in Cambodia,” he said.