Leaders from Cambodia’s Preah Sihanouk and China’s Jiangsu provinces have reaffirmed their commitment to expanding economic cooperation in key areas such as industry, trade, and investment.

This joint declaration was made during a November 14 meeting as Kuoch Chamroeun, governor of Preah Sihanouk province, visited Jiangsu Province and met with provincial governor Xu Kunlin.

Xu briefed Chamroeun on Jiangsu’s economic and social progress, and emphasised the deep-rooted friendship between China and Cambodia, as well as several significant agreements, according to a statement from the provincial administration.

It said Xu highlighted “Preah Sihanouk’s strategic role as a crucial gateway for Cambodian international relations, as well as its importance in the Belt and Road Initiative”. 

He also expressed the value that Jiangsu places on its partnership with Preah Sihanouk, noting the fruitful outcomes of their collaboration. He added the Chinese province is eager to continue this partnership, with a focus on enhancing economic and trade exchanges, cultural ties, and high-quality development that will benefit both sides.

Chamroeun expressed his gratitude for Jiangsu’s support in the development of Preah Sihanouk, particularly the province’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

“The SEZs play a critical role in the Belt and Road Initiative, and have garnered significant attention from the leaders of both our countries,” he said.

“I envision closer cooperation between our provinces, in the economic and humanitarian sectors. I strongly encourage more enterprises from Jiangsu to invest in Preah Sihanouk, with the goal of achieving shared prosperity and benefiting the people of both our provinces,” he added.

Hong Vannak, an economist from the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, voiced his support for the cooperation between the two provinces.

“If Chinese investors are keen to understand Preah Sihanouk’s potential and are willing to invest in Cambodia, it is a positive sign, and will contribute to Cambodia’s long-term economic sustainability,” he said.

During the meeting, the Cambodian delegation requested Jiangsu’s support for the reinstatement of direct flights from the city of Wuxi to Preah Sihanouk, which were suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They also encouraged further investment in the SEZs. The Chinese side agreed to the proposal, reaffirming their commitment to bolster cooperation in various sectors, including industry, trade, investment, tourism, and culture.

Following the November 16 inauguration of the new Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI), Prime Minister Hun Manet met with Wang Yubo, governor of Yunnan Province, China, highlighting China’s role in enhancing relations with Cambodia.

He pointed out that under the Belt and Road Initiative, Cambodia has seen significant infrastructure development, including the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, the Phnom Penh-Bavet high-speed route, and the new SAI airport.