Deals with Cambodia include energy, trade

Updated: 2016-10-14 06:30

By An Baijie(China Daily)

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Deals with Cambodia include energy, trade

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, meet in Phnom Penh, Oct 13, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua] 

China and Cambodia inked 31 cooperative documents on Thursday during President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the Southeast Asian neighbor.

Features of the agreements and memorandums of understanding, whose signings were witnessed by Xi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, include loans, trade deals and construction of power plants.

Additionally, China has agreed to import 200,000 tons of rice from Cambodia.

The two countries also agreed to jointly implement the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and enhance cooperation in production capacity. The initiative, consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was proposed by Xi in 2013 with a focus on infrastructure.

During his talks with Hun Sen, Xi said he received a magnificent and friendly welcome "from the moment I stepped from the plane". Hundreds of students welcomed the delegation with portraits of the two countries' leaders on the streets outside the airport.

China will continue to offer more support to Cambodia to help the country maintain stability and improve people's livelihoods, Xi said.

Under the leadership of Hun Sen, Cambodia has gained stable social order and rapid economic development, improved people's livelihoods and promoted the country's international status, Xi said.

The Cambodian prime minister called Xi's visit historic and said it will strengthen the traditional bilateral friendship.

He also expressed gratitude for China's medical treatment of Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath.

Xi was making his first state visit to Cambodia since he became China's top leader in late 2012. He will fly to Bangladesh on Friday morning and then go to Goa, India, to attend the eighth BRICS Summit.

In July, Cambodia voiced support for China's stance on the South China Sea issue after the ruling by an international arbitration tribunal in a case unilaterally launched by former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III.

Ye Hailin, a senior researcher of South Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Xi's visit will not only strengthen bilateral ties with Cambodia, but also have great influence on the Southeast Asian region.

"Cambodia is not a big power, but the country's role is quite prominent in the Southeast Asian region," he said.

The visit will deepen China-Cambodia cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he added.

"Cambodia is a young country that has great potential in infrastructure and industrial upgrade, and what Cambodian people expect is the same as what Chinese investors expect," Ye said.