PHNOM PENH, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- The year of 2022 marked another fruitful year of pragmatic cooperation between Cambodia and China as the two countries have enjoyed bigger trade and investment volumes, officials and academics said.
The bilateral trade volume hit 14.5 billion U.S. dollars from January to November 2022, a year-on-year increase of 19.1 percent, the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia said in a news release.
China's non-financial direct investment in Cambodia reached 690 million dollars in the first 11 months of 2022, a year-on-year rise of 32.7 percent, the news release said.
It added that 2022 was also a milestone year in the China-Cambodia ties as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact and the China-Cambodia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) entered into force on Jan. 1, 2022.
Moreover, China-funded national roads, hospitals, rural road and clean water supply projects as well as a Chinese-invested expressway had been put into operation in 2022, while more agricultural products such as longan, corn and pangasius gained official access to the Chinese market.
Also, a team of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) experts has come to Cambodia since March to help the Southeast Asian nation fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Under the strategic guidance and steadfast commitment made by the leaders of the two countries, China-Cambodia practical cooperation has achieved fruitful results," the news release said.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen painted a brighter future for his country's ties with China, saying that China has so far funded the construction of more than 3,000 km of national roads and a number of river bridges in the kingdom.
"In Cambodia, a proverb says 'There is road, there is hope'," he said in a public speech. "China has built a lot of roads and bridges for Cambodia, so it means that China has built a lot of hope for our people."
Hun Sen also expressed his confidence that Cambodia's exports to China will be larger in the years to come thanks to the RCEP and the CCFTA.
Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, said despite global uncertainty and the pandemic, China still maintained its status as Cambodia's major trading partner, investor, and official development aid provider.
"Cambodia-China's close cooperation under the frameworks of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the RCEP and the CCFTA, as well as the joint COVID-19 fight have undoubtedly injected fresh impetus into the building of a community with a shared future between the two countries," he told Xinhua.
Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said China's assistance to Cambodia in the fight against COVID-19 was "tremendous and invaluable" for Cambodia and its people.
"With the support from China, Cambodia has controlled the spread of COVID-19 successfully, resuming all socioeconomic activities and reopening its borders with confidence since November 2021," he told Xinhua.
"Chinese vaccines have not only protected millions of Cambodian people's lives, but also helped reinvigorate Cambodia's economic growth."
Matthews said Cambodia-China's excellent ties have not only benefited both countries and peoples, but also contributed to promoting regional peace, security, stability, development and prosperity.