PHNOM PENH, June 10 (Xinhua) -- The China-aided Morodok Techo National Stadium has laid a solid foundation for Cambodia to host Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Para Games successfully.
Cambodia has hosted the 32nd SEA Games for the first time in 64 years from May 5 to May 17 and the 12th ASEAN Para Games from June 3 to May 9. The 60,000-seat stadium was the centerpiece venue for official opening and closing ceremonies as well as tournaments of both regional multi-sport events.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has expressed his sincere thanks to China for helping the Southeast Asian country build this huge stadium.
"It would have been difficult for us to find a place to host the Games and the opening and closing ceremonies if China had not contributed some 150 million U.S. dollars to the construction of this new stadium," he said in a public speech on Wednesday.
The Cambodian leader said the stadium will also serve as the main venue for the Fifth Asian Youth Games in 2029 when the kingdom plays host.
Located roughly 18 km on the northern outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh, the stadium, constructed by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), has been in operation since December 2021.
The 39.9-meter-tall stadium was built in the shape of a "sailing ship" with both prows 99 meters tall, and is encircled by an ancient Angkor-style moat.
Pov Sok, an advisor to Hun Sen, said the stadium was the fruit of cooperation between Cambodia and China under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
"The Morodok Techo National Stadium stands as a good example of the unbreakable iron-clad friendship between Cambodia and China," he told Xinhua on Saturday. "It is a great achievement in the development of Cambodia's sports and tourism."
Sok said the stadium is just one of many Chinese mega-projects being carried out in Cambodia under the BRI, which was proposed by China in 2013.
"Cooperation with China under the BRI has provided tremendous opportunities and benefits to Cambodia in its socioeconomic development and poverty reduction," he said. "Through this initiative, the kingdom has received a great amount of grant aid, concessional loan and investment from China for its infrastructure development."
Vath Chamroeun, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, said the stadium has promoted Cambodia's honor and prestige on international arenas.
"The stadium has opened a new historic chapter for the development of sports in Cambodia," he told Xinhua. "It will also be a magnet to attract international tourists, especially those from China." ■