Xi: China backs sta­bil­ity and growth in Cam­bo­dia

Coun­tries sign $62 mil­lion in trade deals be­fore pres­i­dent makes his first state visit

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is pre­pared to ex­pand its im­ports from Cam­bo­dia and en­large trade, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Wed­nes­day, ahead of his state visit to the South­east Asian coun­try.

The pres­i­dent’s re­marks came as com­pa­nies from the two coun­tries signed eight trade deals val­ued at $62 mil­lion on Tues­day in Ph­nom Penh, Cam­bo­dia’s cap­i­tal. The Chi­nese com­pa­nies, led by the Min­istry of Com­merce, agreed to buy such Cam­bo­dian prod­ucts as cas­sava starch and gran­ite ma­te­ri­als.

Xi au­thored an ar­ti­cle in Cam­bo­dia’s largest daily news­pa­per, Ras­mei Kam­puchea, or Light of Cam­bo­dia, call­ing the coun­try a de­voted friend and broth­er­like neigh­bor.

“I am full of ex­pec­ta­tion on my first visit to Cam­bo­dia as China’s pres­i­dent,” Xi wrote.

China will firmly sup­port Cam­bo­dia in main­tain­ing do­mes­tic sta­bil­ity and speed­ing up eco­nomic devel­op­ment, Xi said.

Ac­cord­ing to the For­eign Min­istry, Xi will­make state vis­its to Cam­bo­dia and Bangladesh on Thursday and Fri­day, and will then fly to Goa, In­dia, to at­tend the Eighth BRICS Sum­mit over the week­end. BRICS stands for emerg­ing pow­er­houses Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa.

Xi’s Cam­bo­dia trip re­cip­ro­cates the visit to Bei­jing­byKing Norodom Si­ha­moni in June, dur­ing which they agreed to fur­ther the com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ship be­tween their coun­tries.

Dur­ing his stay, Xi is sched­uled to meet with the king, have talks with PrimeM­i­nis­ter Hun Sen and wit­ness the sign­ing of deals to boost co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas such as trade, in­vest­ment and tourism.

China has been the big­gest trade part­ner and in­vest­ment source for Cam­bo­dia for three con­sec­u­tive years, and bi­lat­eral trade reached $4.4 bil­lion last year.

Jiang Jingkui, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter of South Asian Stud­ies at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said that the economies ofChina and Cam­bo­dia are highly com­ple­men­tary, and there is great po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ing bi­lat­eral trade.

China is ad­just­ing its eco­nomic struc­ture, with some Chi­nese com­pa­nies mov­ing their fac­to­ries to lower-cost Cam­bo­dia and Bangladesh, which could tighten eco­nomic links, he said.

Xiong Bo, China’s am­bas­sador to Cam­bo­dia, said that as an im­por­tant hub of trans­port in South­east Asia, Cam­bo­dia held a key po­si­tion on the an­cient mar­itime Silk Road con­nect­ing East andWest.

The two coun­tries will sign agree­ments im­ple­ment­ing the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive dur­ing Xi’s visit, he said. The ini­tia­tive, com­pris­ing the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, was put for­ward by Xi in 2013 with a fo­cus on in­fra­struc­ture.

China and Cam­bo­dia are build­ing the Si­hanoukville spe­cial eco­nomic zone in south­west­ern Cam­bo­dia as an ex­am­ple of col­lab­o­ra­tion un­der the ini­tia­tive.

Cam­bo­dia also voiced sup­port for China’s stance on the South China Sea is­sue in July af­ter the rul­ing in an ar­bi­tra­tion case uni­lat­er­ally launched by for­mer Philip­pine pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III.

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