Comments: According to news outlets and Cambodian netizens, the official visit of President Xi Jinping during this 13 October 2016 has triggered different opinions and reactions. According to Pseng Pseng by Ung B.A blogs titling “Hun Sen serves two masters well“, disclosing sensitive troops mobilizing of Vietnamese government into Cambodia soil at least during two critical events: during the clash between Cambodia and Thailand, and the election result in 2013 possibly leading to the loss of power of Hun Sen. If the news of this direct receiving from inner circle is relevant, it is also not unusual for intelligence from both USA and China, but the international relations means too much on how they can absorb interests for their nations, not the movements inside that nation, and they has always closed eyes not to see someone is raping Cambodia or enjoying with the raping moment indisputably. For Cambodia as a victim by such brutal raping, only dictatorship leader(s) and self-interest passionate individual(s), could ignore or neglect this raping action. During Xi’s visit, researchers and analysts have predicted its momentum by China’s firm policy to gain support from Cambodia’s stance on 1. China’s one state policy, 2. China’s approach to bilateral solution on Spratley dispute, and 3. lucrative natural resources investments in Cambodia. Xi shall observe from his own eyes on Cambodia’s genuine attitude towards China and power base of Hun Sen leadership. For this visit, CNRP must play its vital role to adjudicate and articulate its leadership and disclosing long term policy so that this party can negotiate and draw support from Xi Jinping. Pragmatically, Xi’s visit this time is to ascertain that his view on Cambodian people’s mindset has already shied away from his former patron or not?
China and Cambodia: Good Neighbors and Trusted Friends
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni, I will pay a state visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia. This will be my first visit to Cambodia as the President of China, a visit I look forward to with great anticipation.
Cambodia, an important link on the ancient Maritime Silk Road, is renowned for its rich history and the unique Khmer culture. The Angkor Wat, with its magnificent architecture and stunning bas-reliefs, stands as a true tribute to the talent of the Cambodian people and shines in the annals of human civilization. Entering the 21st century, Cambodia has made much progress in development and delivered a better life to its people. It is heading towards a promising future.
China and Cambodia are geographically and culturally close to each other, and our friendly exchanges trace back to more than a millennium ago. Through the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Chinese porcelain and lacquer wares were brought to Cambodia, and Cambodian spices and yellow wax stones were sent to China. The bas-reliefs of the Bayon Temple vividly depict the scenes of Chinese merchants trading with the locals in Cambodia. During China’s Southern and Northern Dynasties in the fifth and sixth centuries, Sanghapãla, Mandrasena and Subhūti, three eminent Cambodian monks, came to disseminate Buddhism in China. In China’s Yuan Dynasty, Zhou Daguan, a Chinese envoy, visited Cambodia. He later wrote The Customs of Cambodia, giving a vivid account of the local customs in Angkor and the friendly interactions between Chinese and Cambodians. Zheng He, the famous navigator of China’s Ming Dynasty, made numerous stopovers in Cambodia on his voyages. He described Cambodia as a land with warm climate and fertile fields where the locals boiled seawater to make salt and had colorful customs. The Sam Po Kong Temple in the suburb of Kampong Cham that honors Zheng He, still has many visitors today, testifying to the time-honored friendship between the Chinese and Cambodians.
A Cambodian proverb likens trust to the growth of a tree. The traditional China-Cambodia friendship, tested by times and changing international landscape, has grown strong like a luxuriant tree thanks to efforts made by past leaders of both countries. In 1958, China and Cambodia established diplomatic ties, opening a new chapter in their bilateral relations. Over the past 58 years, successive leaders of both countries have maintained close interactions and developed a close bond of friendship. King Father Sihanouk once fondly said that China-Cambodia friendship is like a flower that never withers and will always blossom under the bright sky. His words aptly depict China-Cambodia friendship.
Entering the new era, China-Cambodia friendship has continued to flourish, beaming with new vitality. Our two countries enjoy deep political mutual trust and win-win economic cooperation. We have
carried out fruitful cooperation in various areas, and maintained close consultation and coordination in international and regional affairs, setting an example of how two countries should treat each other as equals and cooperate with all sincerity.
In 2010, China and Cambodia established comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, ushering their ties into a new era. We share similar development philosophy, and we agree to enhance complementarity between China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and Cambodia’s “Rectangular Strategy”. Two-way trade and investment have maintained strong growth in recent years. China has been Cambodia’s biggest trading partner and source of investment for three years. The year of 2015 saw our two-way trade topping US$4.4 billion.
China and Cambodia are devoted friends. On issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, our two countries have stood together and supported each other. China firmly supports and has assisted Cambodia in its fight for independence and liberation and to maintain peace and stability. In the 1990s, a Chinese engineering corps of over 800 men took part in peacekeeping missions in Cambodia. In just 18 months, they built and repaired the Phnom Penh International Airport and other two airports, four national-level highways over 640 km in length and over 40 bridges. With blood and sweat, the Chinese peacekeepers helped nurture China-Cambodia friendship.
We will never forget that Cambodia was among the first group of countries to establish diplomatic ties with New China when it faced foreign blockade and hostility in its early days. Cambodia was firm in supporting China’s efforts to restore its lawful seat in the United Nations. When China acted to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests and resolve related disputes through peaceful negotiation, Cambodia did not hesitate to speak out to uphold justice. When China’s Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces were hit by natural disasters, the Cambodian royal family, government leaders and public shared our grief and extended a helping hand to us. We have a Chinese saying that hardship reveals true friendship. Similarly, a Cambodian saying goes that only in tough time can one tell a true friend from a false one. Our two peoples value their friendship and treat each other as true friends, and China-Cambodia friendship has struck deep roots in them.
China and Cambodia are good neighbors sharing a bond of brotherhood. The two countries have helped and supported each other in pursuing development and improving people’s lives. China built Cambodia’s first four-lane national highway as an assistance project and contracted to build its first cement plant, first coal-fired power plant and its largest hydropower station. The booming Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone stands testimony to fruitful China-Cambodia cooperation. By June 2016, 100 companies were operating in the zone with a total investment of US$280 million, creating over 13,000 jobs. By strengthening economic complementarity and unlocking potential, our two countries have expanded and upgraded cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, water conservancy, energy, resources, information and telecommunications, and such cooperation projects are expected to deliver early returns.
China and Cambodia enjoy flourishing people-to-people and cultural exchanges, which have added strong momentum to the growth of their relations. Chinese experts have spent years in Cambodia to protect and restore the Chau Say Tevoda Temple and the Ta Keo Temple in Angkor. Chinese doctors have performed free cataract operations for over 1,000 patients across Cambodia. Chinese agro-technicians have passed on agro-technologies to Cambodian villagers during the day and taught them Chinese in the evening, moves that have been warmly received by the locals. The Confucius Institute launched in Cambodia in 2009 now offers classes to over 10,000 students in 14 different places. By 2015, more than 1,000 Cambodian students had studied in China on scholarship programs sponsored by the Chinese government.
Both China and Cambodia are at crucial stages of their respective development endeavor and face similar tasks of deepening reform, opening further and upgrading economic structure. Both countries are committed to economic integration and cooperation in our region. Having reached a new stage of its relations with Cambodia, China will work with Cambodia to strengthen their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in wide-ranging areas and at different levels so as to deliver greater benefit to the two peoples.
—We will deepen political trust. China will maintain high-level mutual visits and enhance strategic communication with Cambodia. I hope that the two countries will step up exchanges between the governments, political parties and legislatures and at sub-national levels. China will continue to support Cambodia in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions and firmly support Cambodia in safeguarding sovereignty, maintaining domestic stability and accelerating economic development.
—We will take solid steps to promote win-win cooperation. China will continue to enhance complementarity between our respective development strategies and launch priority projects in “Belt and Road” cooperation with Cambodia. We will, in light of local conditions, deepen cooperation in production capacity and deliver concrete outcomes in cooperation areas such as agriculture, water conservancy, infrastructure, information and telecommunications. China will take measures to increase import from Cambodia and scale up two-way trade.
–We will strengthen international coordination with Cambodia. China supports Cambodia in playing its role in regional affairs as an important member of ASEAN and will strengthen coordination and collaboration with Cambodia in East Asia cooperation, Lancang-Mekong River cooperation, the United Nations and other regional and multilateral forums to uphold the common interests of our two countries and other developing countries and build an Asian community of shared future. East Asia cooperation has entered a critical stage. We should continue to focus on the general goal of development and promote sound and steady progress in East Asia cooperation.
—We will endeavor to enhance people-to-people friendship. China will work with Cambodia to give full scope to the role of the Confucius Institute and the China Culture Center and enhance cooperation in education, culture, tourism and health. With these efforts, we can deepen mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples, especially the young people, and ensure that China-Cambodia friendship will be passed on from generation to generation.
I am convinced that with our concerted efforts, China-Cambodia traditional friendship will bear more fruit and that we will forever be good neighbors and genuine trusted friends.