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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Strengthening Bonds: The Evolving China-Cambodia Relations

ChinaStrengthening Bonds: The Evolving China-Cambodia Relations

China, a major player on the global stage, has always attached paramount importance to its relations with its neighboring countries. One such relationship, as showcased over the weekend, is the profound and evolving bond with the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Xi Jinping’s Stand on the Relationship

Chinese President Xi Jinping took the opportunity to reiterate China’s commitment to its special friendship with the Cambodian royal family over the weekend. He emphasized the significance of the China-Cambodia relationship, expressing China’s earnest desire to deepen and practically evolve the concept of a China-Cambodia community with a shared future.

In a face-to-face interaction with the King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni, on Saturday, Xi shed light on the visions that both nations share. King Sihamoni is currently in China attending the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, which is the capital city of East China’s Zhejiang Province.

A Reflection of Deep Ties

Recent events underscore the strength of the relationship between these two nations. The frequent high-level exchanges, especially the recent visits to China by King Sihamoni and the newly elected Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, are testaments to the robust friendship shared by the two neighboring countries.

Chinese analysts, commenting on Saturday, hailed these interactions as embodiments of the ironclad ties binding China and Cambodia.

Marking Significant Anniversaries

This year holds great significance for both nations, as it marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia diplomatic relations. In addition, it’s the 10th anniversary of Xi’s introduction of the concept of Building Relations with Neighboring Countries Based on Amity, Sincerity, Mutual Benefit, and Inclusiveness, as reported by the Xinhua News Agency.

This relationship, in many ways, is a living testament to China’s commitment to fostering amicable, mutually beneficial diplomatic relationships. As Xi pointed out, the China-Cambodia relationship exemplifies the very essence of China’s approach to partnership and good neighborliness.

China’s Support for Cambodia’s Path

Diving deeper into the conversation, Xi continued to emphasize China’s steadfast support for Cambodia. He highlighted China’s endorsement of Cambodia’s pursuit of a development trajectory tailored to its unique national conditions.

Xi’s comments extended beyond mere words, reflecting China’s long-standing policy. The Asian giant advocates for the stability, growth, and progressive role of Cambodia on both regional and international stages.

Future Vision: Enhancing Cooperation and Growth

Highlighting potential areas of collaboration, Xi stressed the importance of maintaining high-level exchanges. Both nations, he posited, should pursue deeper mutually beneficial cooperation, firmly anchoring their efforts within the “Diamond Hexagon” cooperation framework. This framework pinpoints six priority sectors, encompassing political cooperation, production capacity, agriculture, energy, security, and social affairs.

The shared goals extend to the realization of notable accomplishments in projects like the Industrial Development Corridor and the Rice and Fish Corridor. These initiatives are pivotal in modernizing both nations, aligning with their shared vision for the future.

Furthermore, Xi underscored the necessity of fostering ties in education, culture, and youth sectors. Such interactions, he believes, are vital in deepening the mutual respect and friendship that China and Cambodia share.

The Cambodian King’s Stand

Conversely, the visiting King of Cambodia expressed gratitude and honor in leading his delegation to the grand opening ceremony in Hangzhou, an epitome of China’s beauty and heritage.

King Sihamoni voiced his firm belief that under the dynamic leadership of President Xi Jinping, China is poised to showcase yet another impressive sports event, fortifying unity and camaraderie within the Asian community.

He further acknowledged Cambodia’s unwavering commitment to the One China policy. King Sihamoni expressed his nation’s eagerness to collaborate closely with China, particularly in endeavors like the Belt and Road Initiative. His sentiments echoed the collective desire for a shared prosperous future for both nations. “May the friendship between Cambodia and China last forever,” he ardently expressed.

Analyst Insights and Broader Perspectives

Ge Hongliang, an esteemed director at the China-ASEAN Maritime Security Research Center at Guangxi University for Nationalities, opined on the strategic importance of King Sihamoni’s China visit. He drew parallels with the visits of then-prime minister Hun Sen and, more recently, Hun Manet. Their active engagements with China signify a longstanding tradition of close relations, initially forged during the era of King Sihanouk.

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