Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on April 10, 2019. The upcoming second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will bring closer cooperation among all participating countries, said Khieu Kanharith in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. (Xinhua/Sovannara)
by Mao Pengfei, Nguon Sovan
PHNOM PENH, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will bring closer cooperation among all participating countries, says a Cambodian minister.
The forum is due to be held in late April in Beijing, capital of China, and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen will be among the foreign leaders taking part in the forum.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the forum, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said there is no doubt that the upcoming forum would bring a lot of benefits to all countries participating in the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) cooperation, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Cambodia.
"The BRI forum will also further promote cooperation between China and ASEAN and between China and Cambodia," he said.
The minister said all countries participating in the BRI cooperation are benefiting from the initiative in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, capacity building, special economic zone development, culture and tourism, finance, and eco-environmental protection.
"For Cambodia, with Chinese assistance, we can build mega-infrastructure projects, and those projects are crucial to boosting economic growth and making communication easier and faster," he said.
The BRI, a reference to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was initiated by China in 2013 with the aim of building a trade, investment, and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
Cambodia and China have been working together to promote cooperation under the BRI and Cambodia's Rectangular Strategy.
Kanharith said Cambodia's Rectangular Strategy gave priority to four key sectors - human resources, road, water and power.
"Our first priority is to boost economic growth and to make everybody have a fair share of the economic growth," he said. "The BRI can help us through supporting infrastructure projects and human resources development."
Sharing his view on Cambodia-China relations, the minister was optimistic that the ties would be further deepened in all fields in the next 100 years after the two countries marked the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2018.
He said the government and people of Cambodia were very grateful to China for constantly supporting the country's socio-economic development.
"China has assisted us on equal footing, meaning that although China is a big country and Cambodia is a small country, China always treats us equally," Kanharith said. "With Chinese support, Cambodia has gained confidence in ourselves and our people are proud and confident in rebuilding the country."
"After the 100th anniversary of Cambodia-China relationship, I'm sure that we will continue to prosper together and continue to provide mutual help for mutual interest," he said.