Interview: Cambodia-China people-to-people exchange injects stronger vitality into bilateral ties: scholar-Xinhua

Interview: Cambodia-China people-to-people exchange injects stronger vitality into bilateral ties: scholar

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-17 11:03:00

PHNOM PENH, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year 2024 has been injecting stronger vitality into the development of bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of culture, tourism and economy, a Cambodian scholar said on Monday.

The two countries hosted a luminous arts performance at the Angkor Archaeological Park in northwest Cambodia's Siem Reap province in January to officially start the Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year 2024.

In April, both countries also co-organized an exciting cultural exchange event under the theme "When Shaolin Meets Bokator at Angkor," highlighting the cultural diversity of Cambodia and China and serving as a way to promote Cambodia's cultural diplomacy and attract more Chinese tourists to the kingdom.

Yen Samnang, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute, a Phnom Penh-based independent think tank, said as China stands as a major source market for global tourism, the people-to-people exchange year will foster the resurgence of further two-way travel between Cambodia and China.

"It has been injecting more vitality into tourism and economic growth as well as fostering stronger cultural connections not only for Cambodia, but also for the region," he told Xinhua.

China is the third largest source of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia in the first quarter of 2024, according to a Cambodian Ministry of Tourism report.

Almost 190,000 Chinese holidaymakers traveled to the Southeast Asian country during the January-March period this year, up 43 percent from 132,665 over the same period last year, the report said.

Samnang said the launch of the exchange year, together with the existing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, free trade agreements, and Cambodia's new investment law, Cambodia is optimistically expected to attract more foreign direct investment, particularly Chinese investors to the country.

He said these instruments have created an environment conducive to legal certainty, investment protection, and enhanced market access for foreign businesses and investors.

"The implementation of the people-to-people exchange year is deemed to hold immense potential for creating new opportunities to advance people-centered cooperation approach and to foster closer ties at the grassroots level between both countries," Samnang said.

He added that this meaningful cooperation will help Cambodia to achieve its goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and high-income country by 2050.

"Also, it is a driving force for Cambodia and China to build a brighter future together and create a model of cooperation that will serve as an inspiration for others in the region and beyond," he said.

Samnang said the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia and China has created a solid foundation for further cultural exchange and for sharing mutual understanding between Cambodian and Chinese peoples.

"In this sense, Cambodia can explore further opportunities for collaboration with China in art, music, folklore, dance, and traditional practices," he said. "This will contribute to stimulating the sharing of cultural values, boosting the respect and appreciation for each other's cultural heritage."