Cambodia’s Infrastructure Development on the Fast Track: China and Vietnam Plan High-Speed Rail Investment

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At the recent ASEAN-GCC Summit held in Saudi Arabia, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh emphasized the importance of road and rail connectivity. The leaders engaged in in-depth discussions on several areas of cooperation.

Speeding Up Cambodia-Vietnam Road and Rail Connectivity: At the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh lauded Cambodia’s recent societal stability and developmental strides across various sectors. He looked forward to the forthcoming visit of Hun Manet to Vietnam. To further strengthen economic ties, Cambodia proposed accelerating the integration of the ‘Phnom Penh to Bavet Expressway’ with Vietnam’s ‘Moc Bai to Ho Chi Minh Highway’. This not only represents the friendly cooperation between the two nations but also marks a significant step towards regional economic integration.

Significantly, the Phnom Penh to Bavet Expressway, which starts from the capital Phnom Penh and ends in Bavet City, was initiated by the China Road and Bridge Corporation in June. The highway project is expected to be a crucial segment of the Asia Highway Route 1, potentially boosting regional economic activities.

In March, during talks with Cambodia’s then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh expressed Vietnam’s willingness to collaborate with Cambodia on exploring the rail construction connecting Phnom Penh, Bavet City in Svay Rieng Province, Moc Bai on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, and Ho Chi Minh City.

New Phase in Cambodia-China Rail Cooperation: On October 17, during his visit to China, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing Cambodia-China Railway Cooperation Mechanism’ with Chinese leaders. This marks the official commencement of the Cambodia-China railway project, significantly advancing the Pan-Asia Railway Eastern Line’s development. Before this, Hun Manet met with the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, reaffirming Cambodia’s determination in railway development. The planned railway projects, such as Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Poipet and Phnom Penh-Bavet, are set to significantly enhance domestic and international communication and trade.

The Phnom Penh-Poipet Railway project has garnered significant attention. The project spans approximately 383 kilometers with a designed speed of 160 km/h, an estimated total investment of about 4 billion US dollars, and a projected construction period of four years. As a pivotal node in the Pan-Asia Railway Eastern Line, its goal is to connect Phnom Penh with Poipet, further enhancing regional ties.

With Cambodia deepening its railway cooperation with neighboring Vietnam and China, the nation’s infrastructure development has entered a fast track, promising to significantly propel regional economic and trade advancements.

(Article by Kay)