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Chinese leader's first foreign trip in 2018 sends signal of good neighborliness

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-12 14:30
Premier Li Keqiang (3rd L) attends the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan 10, 2018. Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Li Keqiang co-chaired the meeting, which also brought together Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe. [Photo/Xinhua]

PHNOM PENH - The first overseas trip in 2018 by a Chinese leader has sent a signal of China's attaching importance to its neighborhood diplomacy, experts said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Thursday concluded a 24-hour trip to Cambodia where he attended the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting and paid an official visit to the kingdom.

"It is the first overseas trip in the new year by a Chinese leader and has its significance," Hu Zhengyue, vice president of China Public Diplomacy Association and former Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs, told Xinhua.

Hu said the significance can be interpreted from four perspectives -- China's relations with Cambodia, countries on Indo-China Peninsula, China-ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) cooperation, and China's neighborhood diplomacy.

IMPORTANT CHINA-CAMBODIA TIES

"Bilateral relationship has developed well in general in the past six decades and the visit will inject new impetus into its long-term development," said Hu Zhengyue.

China hopes to take the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic ties this year to cement high-level contacts, substantial cooperation in various areas and cultural exchanges, Li said during his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

The Chinese premier vowed to offer assistance for Cambodia's economic development as well as improvement of people's livelihood and to jointly build a community of shared future that is of strategic significance.

The two countries also signed 19 bilateral cooperative documents regarding the areas of politics, economy, trade, public health, forestry, agriculture and culture.

"On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Cambodia ties, it is expected that the China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership will continue to move forward to bring tangible benefits to the two countries and contribute to peace and development in the region and world," former Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Hu Qianwen said.

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