Li says China stands be­hind Cambodia’s ex­panded role

Meet­ing with vis­it­ing deputy PM fo­cuses on strate­gic part­ner­ship

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO YI­NAN zhaoy­i­nan@chi­

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang pledged to sup­port Cambodia on Thurs­day as the South­east Asian coun­try aims for a greater role in re­gional and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs.

Li made the re­marks in a meet­ing on Thurs­day with Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s deputy prime min­is­ter and for­eign min­is­ter, who is in China to at­tend the first meet­ings of an in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal co­or­di­na­tion com­mit­tee re­cently cre­ated by the two coun­tries.

Li said the first com­mit­tee meet­ing added new im­pe­tus to deep­en­ing bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. He said China supports Cambodia in de­vel­op­ing its econ­omy and in its grow­ing role in re­gional and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs. The two coun­tries are cur­rently push­ing to ex­pand their strate­gic part­ner­ship.

Li re­it­er­ated China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to steadily ad­vance and push for fur­ther eco­nomic re­forms in 2014.

He said that the new changes in the global econ­omy have ex­erted com­plex and mul­ti­ple ef­fects on emerg­ing economies and that China will con­tinue to seek a “golden mean” be­tween GDP growth and re­form.

Hor Namhong said China’s eco­nomic growth is ben­e­fi­cial for re­gional pros­per­ity and that the coun­try will carry out the agree­ments ham­mered out on Thurs­day.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease, the two coun­tries have signed mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing and deals on avi­a­tion trans­porta­tion. China and Cambodia have also made a num­ber of deals in trade, agri­cul­ture, na­tional de­fense, law en­force­ment safety and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes.

The in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal co­or­di­na­tion com­mit­tee, which was set up in April last year, is headed by Yang Jiechi, China’s state coun­cilor in charge of for­eign re­la­tions, and Hor Namhong.

Yang, China’s top ne­go­tia­tor at the meet­ing, said China will “unswerv­ingly” deepen its strate­gic re­la­tion­ship with Cambodia and sup­port Cambodia’s sta­bil­ity and rapid de­vel­op­ment.

Li’s meet­ing with Hor Namhong was the pre­mier’s first meet­ing with a for­eign politi­cian this year. An­a­lysts said the meet­ing demon­strates that China’s diplo­matic pri­or­i­ties this year are still fo­cused on neigh­bor­ing coun­tries.

Cambodia is widely seen as China’s key ally on the South China Sea is­sue.

Song Huiy­ing, a re­searcher from China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said the co­or­di­na­tion com­mit­tee is a “nat­u­ral re­sult” of the coun­tries’ ef­forts to ex­pand their long­stand­ing friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion.

She said al­though Cambodia is not a key stake­holder in the ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in the South China Sea, it has some in­flu­ence over the is­sue as an im­por­tant South­east Asian coun­try.

“Cambodia holds a rel­a­tively ob­jec­tive po­si­tion on the is­sue. It is be­ing ra­tional in the dis­pute and is will­ing to keep re­gional peace for the sake of its own long-term de­vel­op­ment. I think it is the stance that any ra­tional coun­tries would take,” she said.

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