Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen (Front R) shakes hands with Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo (Front L) during the inauguration ceremony of the 7th Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge in Kandal province, Cambodia, Feb. 13, 2017. The bridge was inaugurated in Cambodia's Kandal province on Monday after a three-year construction. (Xinhua/Sovannara)
KANDAL, Cambodia, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 7th Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge was inaugurated in Cambodia's Kandal province on Monday after a three-year construction.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo presided over the inauguration ceremony which was attended by some 5,000 people.
The 415-meter-by-13.5-meter bridge, spanning the Tonle Bassac River, is located in Koh Thom district, about 60 km south of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.
The prime minister said the Cambodia-China Friendship Koh Thom Bridge, connecting Kandal province with neighboring Vietnam, is a new achievement in transport infrastructure development.
"The bridge will provide huge benefits to the people, particularly those living in the Koh Thom district," he said.
Hun Sen expressed his profound gratitude to China for having provided a great amount of grant aid and concessional loans to Cambodia for socio-economic development.
The bridge was built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation under China's concessional loan of 19.4 million U.S. dollars.
Ambassador Xiong said the bridge would facilitate travel and goods transport in the area, adding that to date, about 2,600 km of roads and seven large-scale bridges had been built in Cambodia under China's concessional loans.
Local residents said the bridge is very important for locals to travel and to transport their agricultural products to markets.
"When there was no bridge, crossing the river by boat was very difficult and costs both time and money," Phai Chandavy, a 58-year-old local resident, told Xinhua, "With the bridge, it is easy for people to travel and to transport their farm products to markets."
Chandavy said China's assistance was crucial to support Cambodia's development and poverty reduction, "China is the biggest donor to Cambodia, assisting Cambodia in all fields, especially in infrastructure development."
Chean Kimchheng, 16, said when there was no bridge, crossing the river by boat costs 1,500 riel (0.37 U.S. dollar) for a person with a motorcycle or bicycle.
"Now, it's free. We are very happy. With the bridge, we can travel across the river easily and anytime," she said.