Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China deals swiftly signed

China deals swiftly signed

(From left) Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh, Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol, Royal Group CEO Kith Meng, National Bank of Cambodia Governor Chea Chanto, Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon, and CEO of Attwood Investment Group Lim Chivv Ho attend a signing ceremony at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh yesterday.
(From left) Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh, Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol, Royal Group CEO Kith Meng, National Bank of Cambodia Governor Chea Chanto, Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon, and CEO of Attwood Investment Group Lim Chivv Ho attend a signing ceremony at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh yesterday. Hong Menea

China deals swiftly signed

Cambodian and Chinese officials and business leaders yesterday signed 19 agreements during a visit to Phnom Penh by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, boosting Chinese investment at a time when the regional power has upped its economic and political support for Hun Sen’s government.

In a rushed signing ceremony that lasted less than 10 minutes, the 19 deals were signed by various representatives from the two countries’ governments, as well as high-profile business leaders. No questions were fielded by the officials, and few details about the agreements – which could heavily impact Cambodia’s future development – were provided.

Agreements were signed by the Cambodian ministers of agriculture, health, industry, transportation, labour, finance and commerce, as well as high-profile tycoons like Royal Group’s Kith Meng, Attwood Investment Group’s Lim Chivv Ho, and Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation’s (OCIC) Chairman Pung Kheav Se.

The 19 agreements include a concession agreement to build the long-awaited “Sihanoukville Expressway”, a financing cooperation agreement for a new airport in Phnom Penh and a framework agreement for a “Techo 1” communication satellite.

Read the full list of deals signed: In English | In Khmer

The Sihanoukville Expressway agreement was signed by Public Works and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol, whose ministry has been working on the project since at least 2015. Chanthol could not be reached for comment yesterday.

A copy of the concession agreement obtained by The Post says the project could cost up to $1.8 billion and take up to four years to build once construction starts. China’s state-owned China Communication’s Construction Co will be responsible for the costs associated with the project, and will collect tolls on the road to recoup its investment.

Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Va Sim Sorya said yesterday that the expressway would likely infringe upon people’s existing homes and land, but said it would be up to the company – with the help of the ministry – to provide fair compensation for those individuals.

“The company will provide an appropriate solution and we, as the ministry, will be in charge in giving the facilitation,” he said, adding that the project could begin construction in the next six months.

As for Phnom Penh’s new international airport, Kheav Se inked a financing cooperation framework with the state-run China Development Bank. An assistant of Kheav Se yesterday said the project would require around 1,500 to 1,800 hectares of land, and would begin sometime in the next three years, but declined to provide details of the financing agreement.

Sinn Chanserey Vutha, spokesman of State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said the agreement would help realise the government’s plan to have a new airport by 2025.

When asked for details, such as the potential location of the new facility, the spokesman said that OCIC would be in charge proposing a location, with the government only approving a finalised plan.

Meanwhile, Kith Meng, the head of the Royal Group conglomerate, signed an agreement with the president of China Great Wall Industry Corporation to build Cambodia’s first communications satellite.

A subsidiary of Royal Group was given a concession to build the country’s first satellite back in 2011, but the plan never came to fruition. The framework agreement signed yesterday for the satellite – named “Techo 1”, which means “a strong power” and is also a Cambodian royal honourific bestowed upon Prime Minister Hun Sen – would be the country’s first satellite.

The Chinese company previously helped Laos launch its first satellite in 2015.

Other agreements signed yesterday included an “Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation”, an “Exchange of Notes on Provision of batch of materials”, an “Agreement on Establishment of High Value Tree Species Breeding Center” and two memoranda of understanding on the “rice trade” and “rice research”. No details about the agreements were provided.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,