China’s coronavirus aid to Cambodia will boost regional relations

By Soy Sopheap Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/24 18:48:40

Chinese medical experts on the COVID-19 are greeted upon their arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport of Cambodia on Monday. The seven-member team sent by the Chinese government also brought donated supplies such as testing kits, N95 masks, medical masks and protective outfits. Photo: AFP

Chinese material aid and experts arriving in Cambodia on Monday to fight against COVID-19 shows the countries' ironclad friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership.

Cambodia is suffering from the spread of COVID-19, and so far the Ministry of Health reports 87 cases including foreigners and Cambodians. Earlier, three British nationals were found infected with the coronavirus on a tourist vessel that had travelled up the Mekong river from neighboring Vietnam. 

There have been no reports of a COVID-19 death. This shows Cambodian medical teams have working very hard. But it is still important that Cambodia receives assistance from China, a country that has abundant masks, medical materials and expertise, which demonstrates the cooperation between Cambodia and China, and especially considering Cambodia is a member of ASEAN and Mekong-Lancang Cooperation.

The timely help mentioned above is to shake the hand and touch the heart of the Cambodian people who are in need. Through this assistance, the Cambodian people and the people of China are moving closer and both governments are paying attention to the suffering of other people.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen visited China in early February when the virus was still very serious in China, and the world was afraid of China. This demonstrates Cambodia's support to China, and Cambodia has now received the aid from China.

I sincerely hope more Chinese aid will be sent to Cambodia. What is important is that Cambodia has a good relationship with China, because China obviously cares about it. Even though China was coping with its own difficult times, China has not hesitated to send aid to Italy, France and countries belonging to ASEAN, including Cambodia. 

China-Cambodia friendship is as important and the two leaders share their commitment to contain the virus. Poor health spoils but China's aid shows we are good neighbors and good friends.

China's timely contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in Cambodia makes me feel proud and happy and the Cambodian people also feel this warmth. This is a joint battle and there is no doubt COVID-19 will be defeated in Cambodia, as it has been in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

China's help in combating the spread of the coronavirus to Cambodia is a symbol of the great importance of ASEAN.  

Not only does this show good cooperation between Cambodia and China, but it also boosts China within the framework of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and strengthens ties between ASEAN and China. 

The current ASEAN-Cambodia-China cooperation is important and expected within the ASEAN framework. The Cambodian government has also initiated an ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' meeting on combating the coronavirus. 

China's assistance is now in response to the recently launched ASEAN-China initiative to fight the virus that was initiated in Laos.

The ASEAN Summit, which was scheduled to be held in early April in Vietnam, this year's chair of the bloc, should be an opportunity to further China-ASEAN cooperation, but has been postponed until late June in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. The level of Chinese assistance to the ASEAN region has shown greater leadership.

I have the impression that a Chinese friend is a friend who comes to our rescue on time.

After the COVID-19 aid is no longer required, other assistance between the two countries will continue to increase. Chinese tourists will again start returning to Cambodia to help revive the country's economy.

We expect that the comprehensive strategic friendship between Cambodia and China will be further enhanced.

May the Cambodia-China friendship ties that were established during the time of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk will continue to grow. We must unite against all the obstacles in our countries' relations, especially COVID-19. 

I hope the friendship between the two countries lasts forever.

The author is former co-chair and member of the board of directors of the Cambodian China Journalists Association based in Phnom Penh.

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