Commentary: Xi Jinping’s Push for More Chinese Tourists in Cambodia – What’s the Underlying Message?

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Recently, high-level talks were convened between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet. A significant focus of these discussions revolved around promoting tourism from China to Cambodia. This sentiment, while accentuating the strengthening economic partnership between the two nations, also underscores the depth and breadth of their relationship. So, what’s the signal being emitted here?

1. Reinforcing the Age-old Friendship: One can’t overlook President Xi’s remarks about the “unbreakable bond of Sino-Cambodian friendship” and the vision of a “Sino-Cambodian shared destiny.” Such statements illuminate the profound and sturdy ties between the two. By bolstering tourism collaborations, the aim seems to be intensifying cultural exchanges, deepening mutual understanding, and energizing the bilateral relationship. With 65 years since establishing diplomatic relations, the nations have consistently displayed mutual respect, trust, support, and success. Their relationship exemplifies how large and small nations can interact with equity and mutual growth. Xi’s references to their “unbreakable bond” aptly encapsulate this.

2. Aligning with the Belt and Road Initiative: Pushing for more Chinese tourists in Cambodia isn’t just a random strategy. It is a tangible move under the ambitious “Belt and Road” initiative, which has opened numerous developmental avenues for Cambodia. Concurrently, the “Pentagon Strategy” and “Diamond Hexagon” cooperation framework between China and Cambodia have been expanding and deepening. Tourism, an integral part of this collaboration, not only fosters amicable relations but also holds the promise of catalyzing Cambodia’s economic growth. The economic and regional integration goals of the two nations within the “Belt and Road” framework benefit from such cooperative moves, driving more tourism revenue for Cambodia.

3. Demonstrated Support for Cambodia: President Xi’s propositions exhibit tangible support for Cambodia. His mentions of aiding airport developments, restoration of historic relics in Cambodia, and opening up the Chinese market for Cambodian agricultural products emphasize real, actionable economic partnerships. It’s clear that China’s support isn’t merely verbal – actions speak louder.

4. 2024: The Year of Sino-Cambodian Cultural Exchanges: Designating 2024 for this purpose accentuates the importance of cultural interactions between the two countries. Beyond fostering bilateral ties, this move seeks to promote multilateral collaboration and exchange in an era of globalization, contributing to global peace and development.

In essence, President Xi Jinping’s encouragement for increased Chinese tourism in Cambodia isn’t just a simple tourism initiative. It’s a signal – one that dives deep into diplomatic strategies and economic collaborations, highlighting the robust friendship between the two and their collaborative, win-win aspirations under the “The Belt and Road Initiative” umbrella.

(Article By INNews Editor-in-Chief Kay)