October 12th, 2021

Deepen cooperation between China and ASEAN, Cambodia plays a pivotal role

In 2021, China and ASEAN will have established dialogue relations for 30 years. Over the past 30 years, China and ASEAN have moved forward hand in hand, achieved leapfrog development and showed vigorous vitality. Leaders recently put forward four proposals for building a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny: enhance strategic mutual trust and deeply connect development plans, enhance economic and trade cooperation and accelerate the comprehensive recovery of regional economy, enhance scientific and technological innovation and deepen digital economic cooperation, enhance anti-epidemic cooperation and strengthen public health capacity-building.

Participants pose for a group photo

In this context, on September 15, 2021, Xiao Wunan, Executive Vice Chairman of the Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation, held a meeting with H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong at Hanlin Academy in Beijing. They had in-depth discussions and reached many consensus on how to deepen the extensive cooperation between China and ASEAN and further enhance the cultural exchanges and economic and trade relations between China and Cambodia. Li Xiaolin, Acting President of Chinese Association for Life Care, Zeng Laide, former Vice President of China National Academy of Painting, Ge Fen, Director of Shenzhen Office of Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation and Executive Director of SiHui Tech (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., and other people also participated in relevant activities.

H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong (left) and Li Xiaolin take a group photo

H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong said that over the past decade, China has ranked the largest investor and the largest importer and exporter of Cambodia for many consecutive years. In October 2020, China and Cambodia signed a free trade agreement, opening a new situation in bilateral trade. He stressed that thanks to China’s support and help, great changes have taken place in Cambodia in recent years: the development of Sihanouk port is changing with each passing day, the number of China’s industrial parks in Cambodia is growing multiple times, tourism and service facilities have been developed and improved, etc. At present, more and more Chinese choose Cambodia.

H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong (left) and Zeng Laide take a group photo

Xiao Wunan said that China and ASEAN countries are facing many opportunities based on geopolitical, historical and cultural origins and other factors. The two sides will create a new situation in mutual cooperation and common development. Cambodia can give full play to its unique advantages, hub status and node role. The following aspects are worthy of in-depth discussion. First of all, in term of Buddhist cultural exchange and related supporting facilities construction, it is well known that Cambodia has a world-famous cultural heritage like Angkor Wat. Giving full play to the role of Buddhist culture in stabilizing the regional situation and promoting world peace will be the key point of bilateral cooperation in the future. Among them, China can play a unique role in building the cultural and tourism industry around Angkor Wat. The Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation has successfully promoted major Buddhist projects in Nepal and has rich experience. It is hoped that with the support of UNESCO, China and Cambodia will open up a broad prospect in this field. Secondly, in terms of tropical agricultural technical cooperation, Xiao Wunan said that China leads the world in tropical agricultural science and technology. Under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism, China has actively promoted agricultural cooperation, which is listed in one of the five preferred areas. Especially in the field of tropical agriculture, all parties in the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation have expanded cooperation in tropical agricultural varieties, technologies and advantageous production capacity, it will be of great significance to improve the production capacity and food security level of tropical agriculture in various countries, promote the supply side structural reform of tropical agricultural industry, and strengthen agricultural poverty reduction and sustainable development.

H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong highly agreed with Xiao Wunan and pointed out that Cambodia has broader prospects for cooperation with China in agriculture. H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong once served as Minister of Commerce of Cambodia and has been engaged in agricultural research for many years. He believes that due to many factors such as weather and soil conditions, the prospect of agricultural development in Cambodia is unlimited. However, due to the lack of industrialization supporting facilities such as warehousing, processing and packaging, it is unable to standardize intensive processing. Agricultural products can only be exported to Thailand, Vietnam and surrounding countries as raw materials, while Cambodia’s domestic market demand needs to be imported from surrounding countries. Due to the lack of warehousing and processing capacity, there is a huge deficit in agricultural products every year. If Cambodia and China establish cooperation in this field, it can not only improve Cambodia’s income and development effectiveness in agriculture, but also play a positive role in China’s import of high-quality and low-cost agricultural products.

Xiao Wunan delivers an opening speech in the 2nd ASEAN Development Forum

During the meeting, Xiao Wunan, on behalf of the Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation, invited H.R.H. Samdech Preah Mohessera Norodom Chakrapong to serve as the Chairman of this foundation in ASEAN and issued a letter of invitation. H.R.H. Princess Norodom Pongsoriya and H.R.H. Prince Norodom Pongmonirith of Cambodia attended relevant activities. (Zhu Zhu)