Not to mention the last ASEAN Summit held in Indonesia, Samdech Hun Manet visited China as his first foreign destination after taking office as Cambodia’s prime minister.

The trip sparked numerous discussions in the region and around the world about his decision.

Manet made the right choice in selecting China as the first nation to visit since China is the only country that supports Cambodia in times of need or crises, such as when Cambodia faced the global Covid-19 crisis and clashed with Thailand in 2008 over the Preah Vihear Temple.

As an ASEAN member and a long-time friend of China, Cambodia has always supported China both domestically and internationally.

Both nations have made a number of commitments to one another, and there is no reason for any country to sever their bilateral ties.

The relationship between Cambodia and China has been brilliantly forged by the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, former Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and the incumbent, Samdech Hun Manet.

China will commemorate the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) 10th anniversary on October 16, 2023. Cambodia is a participant in this beneficial project.

Should Manet travel to China one more time to attend the BRI 10th anniversary?

The BRI forum, which will take place in Beijing, is a well-known occasion of enormous significance in the global context. This forum will provide a venue for extensive cooperation and coordination among nations as they work to achieve economic growth and development.

World leaders, decision-makers in government, corporate executives and academics from the participating nations will gather in Beijing for the BRI forum to debate and look into potential for collaboration.

It offers a special setting for developing collaborations, exchanging ideas, and tackling issues of common concerns in various fields including connectivity, trade, investment and sustainable development.

This forum’s importance cannot be emphasised. Along with fostering economic cooperation, it also fosters connectivity between individuals and cultures.

The BRI has the power to alter international trade patterns, spur economic expansion and close the development gap between regions.

The presence of Manet is crucial in this regard. His involvement in the BRI forum can be a great opportunity for Cambodia as it aims to further its economic development and solidify its relations with China.

Manet’s participation in the event can help to explore options for collaboration, draw in investment and encourage bilateral commerce.

Manet’s attendance at the BRI forum in Beijing would also be advantageous for Cambodia as well as the initiative’s general success and inclusion.

It would represent Cambodia’s active participation in regional and international affairs, enhancing its status as a significant participant in the BRI.

Face-to-face communication is very important in diplomacy. The BRI forum will offer a stage for leaders to have deep conversations, forge ties with their counterparts and develop trust. The strength of presence resides in its capacity to communicate ideas, broker deals and immediately handle issues.

It makes it possible to effectively communicate ideas, viewpoints and cultural understanding – all of which are essential for promoting harmony and resolving disputes.

Manet’s attendance at the BRI forum can operate as a catalyst for luring in outside capital, forming alliances and presenting doors for business prospects. It displays a nation’s capability, stability and dedication to regional and international integration.

Being visible and actively involved can be a game-changer for a country’s development and success in today’s interconnected globe, where economic links and connectivity hold major weight.

Another essential component of attending the BRI forum is establishing trust. By actively participating in dialogues, paying attention to issues and skillfully responding to them, Manet can exhibit transparency and openness.

He may reassure the people that Cambodia’s participation in the BRI is motivated by the nation’s best interests and long-term development objectives through active participation in negotiations.

Manet’s participation in the forum could benefit Cambodia in a number of ways.

First, it would highlight Cambodia’s dedication and enthusiasm for the BRI, demonstrating its readiness to join in regional cooperation and capitalise on this large-scale project’s potential advantages.

As a result, Cambodia’s reputation and credibility on the global arena would be improved and more foreign direct investment would pour in, supporting economic growth.

Additionally, participating in such a significant forum will give vital insights into cutting-edge technologies, best practices and creative ideas that may be used in Cambodia’s own development goals.

The country will be able to benefit from the triumphs of others and steer clear of any pitfalls thanks to the interchange of ideas and experiences made possible by the BRI forum.

All in all, it is crucial that Manet attends the BRI forum as it is imperative for Cambodia to be proactive and seize chances for further growth and development.

Manet’s attendance at the BRI forum is not just a show of support; it also represents a concrete step toward ensuring Cambodia and its citizens a prosperous future.

Seun Sam is researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

All views expressed in this article are his own.