Hun Manet arrives in Beijing on first official trip abroad since taking office, to further boost ironclad ties
Published: Sep 14, 2023 09:25 PM
China Cambodia Photo: VCG

China Cambodia Photo: VCG

The new Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet chose China as the first foreign country to visit after taking office, showing his great determination to push forward the ironclad bilateral relationship with China, said Chinese observers as Hun Manet arrived on Thursday for a three-day visit.

According to Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hun Manet is paying an official visit to China from September 14 to 16 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Qiang of the State Council.

During the visit, Hun Manet will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, have talks with Premier Li Qiang, and meet with Zhao Leji, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Mao said on Monday.

Hun Manet laid a wreath at the Monument to the People's Heroes Thursday afternoon after arriving in Beijing. 

Chinese observers had high expectations for further deepened mutual trust and expanding cooperation through the remarkable visit by Hun Manet, eldest son and successor of Hun Sen, who took office in August.

The new Cambodian leader's visit to China on his first trip abroad is equivalent to proclaiming to China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the world that he is determined to continue his father's foreign policy, Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University's Southeast Asian Studies Center, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Some observers noted that Hun Manet is expected to maintain an arms-length relationship with Washington. 

Promoting high-tech industries such as the information industry and semiconductor industry is what Cambodia needs, Zhuang said, noting that during the trip, Hun Manet wants to seek the Chinese side's help to improve the quality of the industrial parks in Cambodia that China has invested in.

At present, Cambodia has insufficient infrastructure and development momentum, and its industrial level needs significant improvement, the expert said.

In addition, Hun Manet might want to secure China's support for his country's first high-speed rail project, Zhuang noted.

China has been a major donor and investor in Cambodia's infrastructure projects, which include roads, bridges, expressways, ports and airports, which have significantly improved Cambodia's trade and connectivity, according to the Xinhua News Agency

China also attaches great significance to maintaining and strengthening its ties with Cambodia, one of the most important members of ASEAN, said Zhuang, who believes deepening relations with Cambodia is also conducive for China to push forward ties with ASEAN.

Noting that this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia diplomatic ties and the Year of China-Cambodia Friendship, Mao Ning said Monday that China looks forward to making a comprehensive plan for China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic cooperation in the coming years through this visit.

In particular, China will push forward the implementation of cooperation initiatives such as the "Industrial Development Corridor" and the "Fish and Rice Corridor" as soon as possible, and will build a high-quality, high-level and high-standard China-Cambodia community with a shared future for the new era, Mao added.

Coinciding with Hun Manet's China visit, a medical team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia on Thursday morning to organize the 13-day "Peace Angel 2023" joint medical exercise with the medical service detachment of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and provide free medical services for Cambodian soldiers and civilians, according to a post by the CCTV military channel on the Sina Weibo on Thursday.

This activity, which involves more than 700 soldiers from the Chinese and Cambodian militaries, is the first joint exercise of the medical service detachments of the Chinese and Cambodian militaries, CCTV reported.