KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Friday broke ground for the construction of a 2-billion-U.S.-dollar Chinese-invested expressway, connecting capital Phnom Penh to the southwestern seaport province of Preah Sihanouk.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and visiting Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou presided over the ceremony here, which was attended by about 10,000 people.
Hun Sen said the 190-km expressway is the first of its kind in Cambodia, saying that the huge project was made possible thanks to the excellent ties between China and Cambodia.
He added that the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) invested about two billion U.S. dollars for the thoroughfare, which will take four years to be constructed, starting from March 2019 to March 2023.
"On behalf of the Cambodian government, I'd like to express my profound gratitude to the Chinese government for supporting this project, and to the CRBC for investing in the project," Hun Sen said.
The four-lane expressway will be built on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) form, he said.
"This expressway is very important to connect the country's first economic pole, Phnom Penh, to the second economic pole, Sihanoukville," Hun Sen said. "We believe that it will be an importantly strategic road that will contribute to boosting Cambodia's economic growth."
Kong Xuanyou said as a good brother, friend, partner, and neighbor of Cambodia, China attached great importance to the development of relations with Cambodia based on the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
"I believe that the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway will not only provide enormous benefits to the Cambodian people, but also be a road of friendship and cooperation between China and Cambodia," he said.