Prime Minister Hun Manet is set for his second official overseas trip, following last week’s ASEAN Summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
While addressing over 18,000 factory workers in Kampong Speu province’s Samrong Torng district on September 9, Manet said he will personally attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning, the capital city of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on September 14.
During the recent ASEAN-China Summit, Chinese Premier Li Qiang expressed his hopes that Cambodia and China would engage in substantive discussions to strengthen their cooperation further when Manet visits China.
In a social media post, Manet noted that he and Li affirmed joint commitment to enhance the best interests of the two nations, and to fortify and develop bilateral cooperation based on a solid and close friendship.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi previously assured former Prime Minister Hun Sen that Sino-Cambodian relations would solidify under the new government led by Manet, with China eager to support the Kingdom on its path to greater prosperity.
Wang expressed the commitment during his August 13 visit to Cambodia, where he had meetings with both Hun Sen and Manet.
Wang also assured China’s readiness to welcome Manet during his upcoming visit to Nanning for the 20th CAEXPO, as well as the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), scheduled to take place in mid-October in the Chinese capital Beijing.
Government spokesman Pen Bona said he had not yet received the exact itinerary of Manet’s visit to China.
Regardless, he believed the visit will foster and deepen the relationship for the mutual interests of both nations, as bilateral relations had been cemented during Hun Sen’s leadership.
“I believe that the [Manet-led] government will further nurture and strengthen this already excellent relationship,” he added.
Ou Chanrath, vice-president of the Cambodian Reform Party, acknowledged the importance of enhancing relationships with various countries, especially superpowers, though he suggested maintaining a balanced approach between China and the West.
“If we can make a clear and informed decision, it could bring economic and political benefits to Cambodia,” he said.