(Article by Wang Wentian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia)
Ten years ago, President Xi Jinping proposed the “Belt and Road” initiative, sparking enthusiastic responses from the international community. Over the past decade, adhering to the principles of consultation, joint construction, and shared benefits, the “Belt and Road” has crossed mountains and seas, promoting more than 3,000 practical cooperation projects worldwide, stimulating investments of nearly a trillion dollars, and becoming a true path of cooperation and friendship.
As staunch friends, Cambodia was one of the earliest nations to respond to, participate in, and implement the “Belt and Road” initiative. Cambodian friends firmly believe that the “Belt and Road” initiative is an international cooperation platform that improves global governance and achieves mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. It is also an international public good that contributes to Cambodia’s economic and social development. In October 2016, during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Cambodia, the two countries signed a government-to-government cooperation document for jointly building the “Belt and Road.” Prince Hun Sen attended the “Belt and Road” International Cooperation Forum in China twice, and Prime Minister Hun Manet will attend the third forum in a few days. Under the strategic leadership of both countries, China and Cambodia have maintained mutual assistance, equality, high mutual trust, and sincere cooperation, serving as a model for the high-quality construction of the “Belt and Road” and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.
Working together to promote development, the “Belt and Road” enhances the well-being of the people. Cooperation between China and Cambodia has deepened in areas such as production capacity, trade and investment, agriculture, and infrastructure construction. Many significant projects have been established in Cambodia, including the Sihanoukville Economic Special Zone, the Gold Port Expressway, Siem Reap International Airport, the National Stadium, and the Stung Russey Chrum Hydropower Station. The level of investment and trade facilitation between the two countries has greatly improved, with China remaining Cambodia’s largest trading partner and the largest source of investment for many consecutive years. Cambodian agricultural products like rice, bananas, mangoes, longan, and coconuts have entered the Chinese market, and “Made in China” products such as smartphones and electric cars are popular in Cambodia. These tangible achievements have brought greater well-being to both countries and their people.
Joining hands to share a common destiny, the “Belt and Road” promotes people-to-people connectivity. In recent years, both sides have carried out a series of colorful cultural exchange activities, further expanding exchanges and cooperation in youth, local, education, tourism, healthcare, and other fields. China has continuously sent international Chinese teachers and volunteers to Cambodia, providing government scholarship quotas and supporting the development of Chinese language teaching in Cambodia. China actively helped Cambodia fight the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the world’s first Chinese medicine medical team and launching projects such as “Love Action” and “Bright Action,” bringing health and hope to countless Cambodian families. Chinese cultural heritage experts have rooted themselves in Cambodia for many years, actively participating in the preservation and restoration work of the Angkor ruins. Through rain and shine, the millennia-old friendship between China and Cambodia remains deeply rooted in the hearts of the people of both countries.
Setting sail for another ten years. The upcoming third Belt and Road International Cooperation Forum will provide an important platform for leaders from various countries to discuss development plans and outline a grand blueprint for the high-quality construction of the “Belt and Road.” This year marks the 65th anniversary of China-Cambodia diplomatic relations and the “Year of China-Cambodia Friendship.” We believe that with joint efforts from both sides, China-Cambodia “Belt and Road” cooperation will forge ahead and contribute to the vibrant development of a community of shared future for China and Cambodia in the new era, continuously writing a new chapter in the ironclad friendship between the two countries.