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China, Cambodia agree to enhance bilateral cooperation

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen (right) meets with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Sept 12, 2021. (KOK KY / XINHUA)

PHNOM PENH – Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed on Sunday to enhance cooperation in fighting COVID-19, boost bilateral trade and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.

When meeting with Wang in the Cambodian capital, Hun Sen said Cambodia is willing to join hands with China to continue pushing forward bilateral relations.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen promised his country's firm support to China on issues concerning China's core interests, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang

The Cambodian leader promised his country's firm support to China on issues concerning China's core interests, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

Cambodia appreciates China's assistance in helping the kingdom combat the COVID-19 outbreak and hopes to further cement bilateral cooperation in the fields of anti-epidemic measures, trade and economy, and infrastructure, Hun Sen said.

Both sides will strengthen communication and coordination to prevent outsider countries from meddling in the regional issues so as to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region, he added.

Wang said that under the guidance of consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, China is ready to further the mutually-beneficial cooperation with Cambodia, and move toward building the China-Cambodia community with a shared future to benefit peoples of the two countries.

He promised that China will provide more COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies to Cambodia to help the kingdom contain its COVID-19 outbreak.

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Wang hoped that China and the ASEAN countries could conclude their consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea during Cambodia's ASEAN chairmanship next year, and reach an agreement which is effective, with practical significance, and in line with the international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Before their meeting, Hun Sen and Wang attended the handover ceremony of the China-funded national stadium in Phnom Penh.

Wang arrived here from Vietnam for a visit to Cambodia, the second leg of his four-nation Asia tour, which will also take him to Singapore and South Korea.

Wang also met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and agreed to further enhance cooperation.

During their meeting, Wang said that he and Sokhonn have met face to face for three times in less than one year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, fully demonstrating the significance and extraordinary nature of bilateral relations.

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The China-Cambodia relations, forged and nurtured by former leaderships of both countries, have weathered tests and difficulties and have become rock solid in the face of challenges in the international arena, said the Chinese state councilor.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wang said, China and Cambodia have maintained mutual support in their concerted fight against the viral disease.

Facing a changing world, the two countries have been jointly fighting power politics and bullying, safeguarding international fairness and justice, and the common interests of all developing countries, Wang said.

He expressed the wishes that the China-Cambodia free trade agreement would take effective at an early date, offering Cambodia the driving force for economic recovery.

Wang also urged both sides to speed up the construction of the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, which would play a pivotal role in building an industrial investment group for the region.

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The Chinese state councilor said China is keen to dovetail the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor with the Lancang-Mekong Economic Development Belt, elevating the China-ASEAN relations to a new stage.

Sokhonn appreciated China's assistance to Cambodia in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and developing its economy, saying that the Cambodian side highly values China's success in controlling the pandemic and its leading role in international anti-epidemic cooperation.

He noted that Cambodia, supporting scientific approaches to trace the COVID-19 origins, opposes any plan to politicize the origins-tracing issue.