Deputy Minister of Commerce of Cambodia Tiegong: Beijing is my second hometown



APD Hannah

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Cambodia, and is also the "Year of Friendship between China and Cambodia." Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia took this opportunity to pay an official visit to China from February 9 to 11, becoming the first foreign leader to visit China after the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2023.

Taking this opportunity, "Asia Pacific Daily" interviewed Vice Minister of Commerce Tie Gong of Cambodia to gain an in-depth understanding of the goals that the high-level Cambodian delegation hopes to achieve through this visit to China and the future direction of China Cambodia relations.

Tie Gong first introduced that Cambodia will sign a series of cooperation agreements with relevant departments of the Chinese government, currently including ten agreements: First, the two governments are increasing the promotion of the construction of a community of shared destiny between Cambodia and China, and deepening the memorandum of cooperation between the Cambodian Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Foreign Ministry; The second is that the Jinba Expressway will also formally sign relevant agreements; The Minister of Commerce of Cambodia signed the Cambodian China Economic and Trade Cooperation Action Plan 2023-2024 with China on behalf of Cambodia; Fourth, in order to strengthen bilateral economic and trade cooperation, especially in agricultural and aquatic products, the Ministry of Agriculture of Cambodia will sign a protocol with China on the inspection of edible aquatic animals imported from Cambodia to China; The Cambodian Ministry of Information will sign a memorandum of cooperation with China Central Television to cooperate with Xinhua News Agency; Sixth, Cambodia and China will issue a statement in the field of cultural heritage cooperation and development in Asia; Seventh, plan for development cooperation between the two sides, including a short-term plan for 2023-2025; Eighth, the Chinese government's phased research on poverty alleviation in Cambodia; The ninth is to exchange in-depth views with the Chinese government on the new high-speed railway in Cambodia. The Cambodian side hopes to build a new high-speed railway from Bobi to Phnom Penh on the Thai border; The tenth is to conduct an in-depth exchange of views on international issues of high bilateral concern.

In addition to a series of agreements to be signed by the two sides, Tie Gong specifically mentioned that this visit to China will organize a business forum for Cambodian and Chinese entrepreneurs. Minister Tiegong said that although the visit was relatively short in duration, it was very informative.

Tie Gong said that this visit to China is the first official visit by a foreign leader after the end of the epidemic and the Chinese Lunar New Year, which fully reflects the very high level of relations between the two countries. At that time, Prime Minister Hun Sen will meet with Chinese leaders. The traditional friendship between Cambodia and China has a long history. In recent years, the construction of the Cambodian China community of shared destiny has also achieved fruitful results. The Cambodian Chinese people are very close, and the Cambodian China friendship has even affected the peace and common development of the region and the world. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and China, and is also the year of friendship between Cambodia and China. The Cambodian side wants to take advantage of the visit to promote the construction and development of a community of shared destiny between Cambodia and China, and consolidate and carry forward the traditional friendship between Cambodia and China.

When asked about the specific plans for the upcoming Mekong River Bridge in Cambodia, Iron bow said: "The Cambodian government plans to allocate US $200 million to build a bridge across the Mekong River to complement the Phnom Penh Mekong Expressway. Construction will begin within this year, and the Mekong River Bridge will connect the Phnom Penh and Mekong regions. The total length of the Phnom Penh Expressway is 138 kilometers, with an estimated investment of US $1638 million, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2026. As Cambodia is a Lancang Mekong River country, the Lancang River and Mekong River run through six countries, forming a bridge in Cambodia." Due to the relatively deep rivers and large drainage area, the development of transportation and infrastructure will be hindered to some extent. The construction of the Mekong River Bridge funded by the Cambodian government will help Cambodia connect the entire Pan Asian region, especially the transportation lines from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. Not only will Cambodia benefit from its economy, but also it will drive the common economic development of the entire region. "Therefore, the Mekong River Bridge is very meaningful."

Tie Gong said that this visit to China is after the implementation of the Cambodian Free Trade Agreement, which will promote closer exchanges between the two countries and provide strong assistance for bilateral economic and trade. In addition, this visit to China will enhance the friendship between the two peoples. Taking advantage of the opportunity of the Cambodian China Friendship Year and the in-depth exchanges between the leaders of the two countries, I believe that the traditional friendship between Cambodia and China will be carried forward, and that the future development of Cambodia and China will achieve even more fruitful results.

last, Iron bow added: "I am also very excited to accompany Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Commerce of Cambodia to China this time. I used to work at the Cambodian Embassy in Beijing, and every time I think of Beijing, I feel very cordial, as if Beijing is my second hometown. This time, I accompany the Prime Minister to visit China officially, as a member of the Cambodian government, and I also hope to make my modest contribution to the economic and trade cooperation and friendship between Cambodia and China."