PHNOM PENH, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The solid relationship with China has provided great benefits to Cambodia's socio-economic development and poverty reduction, a Cambodian academic said on Monday.
Senior economist Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said China is the largest donor, investor and trading partner of Cambodia, and that the ties between the two countries are currently "as solid as the Great Wall of China."
"Chinese aid and investment have played a very important role in supporting Cambodia's socio-economic development and poverty reduction through creating hundreds of thousands of jobs," he told Xinhua.
Sereyvath said under the Belt and Road Initiative, China has helped build many mega-projects such as roads, bridges, ports, airports, hydropower plants, economic zones, and a national stadium in the Southeast Asian nation.
The expert noted three remarkable Chinese invested projects in Cambodia, namely the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, the first ever Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway, and the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport. "These projects have provided and will continue to provide great benefits to Cambodia."
Moreover, he said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade pact and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement, both of which entered into force in January, have been giving a big boost to Cambodia's economic growth.
"The two free trade agreements have provided larger market access for made-in-Cambodia products, and there is no doubt that Cambodia's exports to China and other RCEP countries will be bigger and bigger in the future," he said.
Sereyvath also highlighted the growing China-Cambodia relations, saying that the ties have withstood the test of regional and international vicissitudes and grown even stronger since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1958.
He said the two countries upgraded their relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in December 2010 and bilateral ties are currently at an all-time high.
"The iron-clad friendship between Cambodia and China is made based on mutual trust, respect, help and support," he said. "The ties between the two countries should serve as a role model of country-to-country relations."
Sharing his view on the future of China-Cambodia relations, Sereyvath said bilateral ties would continue to deepen.
"Chinese COVID-19 vaccines have not only protected millions of Cambodian people's lives and stabilized the health system, but also helped boost Cambodia's economic recovery," he said.
Buoyed by its high vaccination rate, Cambodia has resumed all socio-economic activities with confidence and reopened its borders to travelers without quarantine since last November.
"The Sino-Cambodian ties are currently very stable and unbreakable, and I think that the relations will be closer and stronger in the future, especially in politics, economics, trade, investment, tourism, culture and agriculture," he said. ■