PHNOM PENH, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Cambodia on Thursday, which is expected to further enhance bilateral ties between the two countries.
The year of 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia. Forged and cultivated by the two countries' leaders over the past several decades, the friendship between the two countries has yielded fruitful outcomes in various fields.
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In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to Cambodia, which took the China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level.
Since then, the relationship between the two countries has entered into a fast track of development.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen met with Xi in Beijing on Dec. 1, 2017, while attending the Communist Party of China in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting.
During the meeting, Xi said that the China-Cambodia ties are currently at the best period in history, citing enhanced political trust, expanded cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Xi also expressed support for Cambodia's efforts to maintain development and stability, adding that China expects to boost cooperation with Cambodia in defense, law-enforcement and security as well as other areas.
In a signed article published on Tuesday in the Khmer Times, a leading English-language newspaper in Cambodia, Premier Li said "I look forward to renewing China-Cambodia friendship during my upcoming official visit to Cambodia at the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen."
Li stressed that he expects stronger Lancang-Mekong cooperation and more progress in China-Cambodia relations.
The Chinese premier attended the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting on Wednesday.
The LMC comprises six countries, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Hailing the fruitful results in cooperation, Li said in his signed article that the LMC has grown into a sub-regional cooperation framework with great potential and vitality. "(It) is not only conducive to narrowing the development gap within ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and advancing ASEAN integration, but also enriches South-South cooperation and efforts to foster a more open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization that benefits all."
The friendly cooperation between China and Cambodia and within the LMC framework is oriented to promoting economic development, particularly to bettering people's lives, Li said.
"The great friendship spanning more than half a century between King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Chinese leaders has become a legend in the history of China-Cambodia and even international exchanges," Li said in his signed article.
"Today, the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, named in memory of the late King Father, is seeing booming growth, attracting more than 100 companies from China and other countries and creating nearly 20,000 jobs for the local community. Like many other collaborative projects between the two countries, it stands as a symbol of renewed China-Cambodia friendship by delivering real benefits to the people," he said.
In December last year, China provided 7.3 million U.S. dollars from the LMC Special Fund to Cambodia for carrying out a variety of projects, which cover such areas as agriculture, tourism, technology, public health, education, air inter-connectivity, cultural exchanges and so on.
According to Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo, as of October 2017, China has been the biggest source of foreign investment for Cambodia, with the agreed investment amount to Cambodia standing at 12.57 billion dollars which accounts for 36.4 percent of the country's total foreign investment.
The development of the bilateral ties has greatly contributed to the social and economic development of Cambodia.
"The Cambodia-China trade volume has rapidly increased -- averagely 26 percent per year -- in the last 10 years," Hun Sen said on April 11, 2017, during the release ceremony of the Cambodian edition of the book "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China."
He attributed the high growth to good relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Meanwhile, within the LMC mechanism, China and Cambodia have greatly contributed to the establishment of international law-enforcement cooperation in joint crackdown on cross-border crimes in the Lancang-Mekong area.
Since 2011, law-enforcement agencies of the six countries have pursued 65 joint patrols and four joint operations against drug trafficking, smashing 39,000 drug cases and rescuing 120 civilian vessels.
Originating from the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in southwest China, the river is called the Lancang River in China and the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the sea.