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Several Chinese agreements to be inked during visit starting this week. Prime minister is meanwhile expected to receive an honorary Chinese degree.
Prime Minister Hun Sen will take part in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing from April 25 to 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Monday.
The summit — which follows the first in 2017 — would bring together as many as 37 heads of state or government including from Western Europe and other high-level representatives from 126 countries, Chinese State-owned TV CGTN reports.
Hun Sen is scheduled to discuss boosting connectivity to explore new sources of growth during a round-table discussion among the leaders.
After the summit, he will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee Member Wang Huning.
Hun Sen is also expected to address a group at Beijing University, which will bestow upon him the title of Honorary Professor of International Relations.
More Chinese aid?
Cambodia and China upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013. Relations have deepened with significant increases in Chinese aid, investment and tourist arrivals as well as expanding trade ties.
During his stay in Beijing, Hun Sen is also scheduled to meet representatives of several Chinese companies, the ministry said, and many agreements on Chinese aid and cooperation projects are expected to be inked.
In January, Hun Sen said China had pledged almost $600 million in aid to Cambodia over three years. At the same time, he said Chinese leaders had promised to import up to 400,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice, helping to expand bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2023.
China has been Cambodia’s largest trading partner with an estimated $5.8 billion in two-way trade in 2017, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). And China has also been Cambodia’s largest source of direct foreign investment, with the amount of $1.6 billion in 2017.
Growing ties with China coincide with the possible removal of trade preferences granted by the European Union and the United States amid Western criticism of recent political developments in Cambodia.