A decade ago when Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it was an instant hit, winning widespread acclamation and support from the international community.

Now, 10 years into its proposal, upholding the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI transcends geographical barriers and proves to be, as its name per se, a “belt” binding cooperation and a “road” leading to friendship, with more than 3,000 practical projects rallying nearly $ 1 trillion of investment, significantly advancing development and livelihood around the world.

As China’s ironclad friend, Cambodia is among the earliest supporters of the BRI, firmly believing that not only is it an international cooperative platform promoting global governance and win-win cooperation with mutual benefits, but also an international public good contributing to Cambodia’s economic and social development.

Back in October 2016, during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Cambodia, the two countries signed intergovernmental cooperative documents on jointly advancing BRI cooperation. Carrying forward the ever robust momentum of high-level exchanges, Samdech Techo Hun Sen attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation twice, and Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet will soon attend the third BRI forum in a few days. Under the strategic guidance of our leaders, China and Cambodia enjoy a relationship anchored in equality, mutual trust, brotherhood, cooperation and has delivered a showcase of high-quality development of Belt and Road and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

BRI has rapidly improved people’s livelihood. Deepening cooperation in production capacity, trade, investment, agriculture and infrastructure has witnessed the success of flagship projects such as Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, the Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, Morodok Techo National Stadium and the Lower Sesan II hydropower station. Thanks to progress in investment and trade facilitation, bilateral investment and trade keep expanding.

China is by far Cambodia’s top trading partner and investor many years in a row. Cambodian rice, bananas, mangoes, longans, coconuts and other agricultural products have made their way to a welcoming Chinese market, while “Made in China” smartphones and electric cars become ever more popular in Cambodia. In a mere decade, BRI cooperation has come to fruition, bringing tremendous benefits to Chinese and Cambodians alike.

BRI forges an ever closer bond between the two peoples. In recent years, China and Cambodia have carried out a variety of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, with a view to further advancing communication and cooperation in the fields of youth, local exchanges, education, tourism and medical and health services. Year after year, Chinese teachers and volunteers come to work among Cambodians while Cambodian students go to China on Chinese government scholarship.

Our bond is further strengthened by China’s full support to Cambodia in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, including the dispatching of the very first traditional Chinese medical science team and China-aided free medical service such as cataract blindness elimination project, which brings health and hope to Cambodian patients. And as we speak, Chinese experts are dedicating themselves to the protection and restoration of Angkor Wat heritage. Together, they speak volume about our millennium-long friendship that has withstood the test of time, and deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the BRI, China and Cambodia are embarking on a new journey of BRI cooperation, with the third BRI Forum soon to be held, providing an important platform for discussion of major development plans and future course for jointly promoting high-quality BRI cooperation for leaders of participating countries.

At the milestone of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia and China-Cambodia Friendship Year, we have every reason to be confident that, by working closely together, China and Cambodia will keep on forging ahead with BRI cooperation, developing an ever more vigorous community with a shared future in the new era, and adding fresh chapters to the legend of friendship we so dearly treasure.

Wang Wentian is ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia.

The views expressed in this article are his own.