Cambodia and China, already the nation's biggest donor, signed 19 aid and investment pacts on Thursday in the latest sign of their strengthening relationship as Cambodia turns further away from Western donors.
The agreements, whose value was not disclosed, were signed after talks between China’s Premier Li Keqiang and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.
They included one between the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation and China Development Bank (CDB) for a loan for a new airport in Siem Reap province, and another deal to build a highway from Phnom Penh to the beach resort of Sihanoukville, already a hub of Chinese investment.
Cambodia’s Royal Group of Companies and China Great Wall Industry Corporation agreed to launch the southeast Asian nation’s first communications satellite. Other deals included soft loans for electricity supply and support for agriculture.
Li and Hun Sen also discussed how to encourage Chinese tourists to visit Cambodia and exports of sugar to China, Eang Sophalleth, an aide to Hun Sen, said.
Li told Hun Sen that China had another aid pledge of more than 1.2 billion yuan , or 184 million US dollars, for other projects, Eang Sophalleth said.
China's Ministry of Commerce listed several aid projects around the world, including a sports stadium and supporting infrastructure for an industry park in Cambodia, as some of the key highlights for the year in aid, and also mentions assigning more than a dozen taxation, agriculture and customs personnel to the nation to offer training.