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China, Cambodia agree to enhance bilateral cooperation

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) — Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn agreed here on Sunday to further enhance cooperation between their two countries.

During a meeting with Prak Sokhonn, Wang said that he and Sokhonn have met face to face for three times in less than one year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, fully demonstrating the significance and extraordinary nature of bilateral relations.

The China-Cambodia relations, forged and nurtured by former leaderships of both countries, have weathered tests and difficulties and have become rock solid in the face of challenges in the international arena, said the Chinese state councilor.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wang said, China and Cambodia have maintained mutual support in their concerted fight against the viral disease.

Facing a changing world, the two countries have been jointly fighting power politics and bullying, safeguarding international fairness and justice, and the common interests of all developing countries, Wang said.

He said China will continue to firmly support Cambodia in safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity, combating COVID-19 and developing economy, and playing a bigger role in regional and international arenas.

Both sides should coordinate bilateral cooperation in all areas, boosting the high-level development of China-Cambodia relations.

Wang promised that China will continue to help Cambodia fight the COVID-19 outbreak by providing vaccines and other materials.

He said China will increase imports of Cambodian agricultural products, helping push forward Cambodia’s industrialization and its economic transformation.

He expressed the wishes that the China-Cambodia free trade agreement would take effective at an early date, offering Cambodia the driving force for economic recovery.

Wang also urged both sides to speed up the construction of the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, which would play a pivotal role in building an industrial investment group for the region.

The Chinese state councilor said China is keen to dovetail the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor with the Lancang-Mekong Economic Development Belt, elevating the China-ASEAN relations to a new stage.

Sokhonn appreciated China’s assistance to Cambodia in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and developing its economy, saying that the Cambodian side highly values China’s success in controlling the pandemic and its leading role in international anti-epidemic cooperation.

He noted that Cambodia, supporting scientific approaches to trace the COVID-19 origins, opposes any plan to politicize the origins-tracing issue.

Cambodia will strictly abide by the one-China principle and stand firmly with China on issues of China’s internal affairs, such as those involving Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, said Sokhonn.

He said Cambodia is committed to working with China to build a community with a shared future for both countries, hoping that the two sides will further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields including trade, investment, defense and security, and jointly build the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone into a win-win model under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Cambodia also firmly supports the multilateralism and the development of ASEAN-China relations, added Sokhonn.

At a joint press conference after their meeting, the two senior officials said they reached a six-point consensus regarding bilateral relations and cooperation. First, implement the consensus reached by top leaders of the two countries, and support each other on issues concerning core interests of both sides.

Second, carry on anti-pandemic cooperation and strive to eliminate the “vaccine gap.” Firmly oppose politicizing COVID-19 origins tracing and acts of sabotaging global anti-pandemic cooperation.

Third, jointly build high-quality Belt and Road. Both sides will strengthen cooperation in infrastructure, production capacity and 5G. China will facilitate Cambodia in stepping up industrialization process and increase imports of high-quality agricultural products from Cambodia. The two countries will also steadily implement big projects such as the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone and the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway.

Fourth, enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The Chinese side will increase aid in the construction of schools, hospitals and roads in Cambodia.

Fifth, jointly promote East Asia cooperation and China-ASEAN relations to a higher level, and step up integrating the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor with the development of the Mekong-Lancang Economic Development Belt.

Sixth, strengthen coordination and say no to power politics. Both side will fight bullying acts, jointly safeguard regional peace, stability as well as fairness and justice in the international community.

Also at the press conference, Wang stressed that terrorism is the common enemy of mankind and fighting terrorism needs concerted efforts from the international community.

All countries in the world should join hands to safeguard an international system with the United Nations at its core and an international order based on international law, he said.

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