by Mao Pengfei, Nguon Sovan
PHNOM PENH, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodia-China joint COVID-19 fight reflected the bond of true friendship and solidarity between the two countries and peoples, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn has said.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Wednesday, Sokhonn said the COVID-19 pandemic has badly disrupted lives, economic activities, the flow of goods and services and has caused an unprecedented economic downturn.
The pandemic, he said, has become a global challenge that requires concerted international effort, and increased coordination and cooperation.
Sokhonn noted that Cambodia and China have been working closely and providing great support to each other in combatting the pandemic.
He said when China was in a critical stage in coping with the outbreak of COVID-19, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen made a special visit to Beijing, capital of China, on Feb. 5.
"This truly reflected the gesture of Cambodia's solidarity with the Chinese people and an expression of his confidence in Chinese government's ability to fight against the virus," he said.
Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk also sent personal contribution to support China's effort to contain the spread of the disease, he added.
Speaking of the global outbreak of the virus, Sokhonn said that no country is safe from the COVID-19 pandemic unless every country is safe and he called for global solidarity and cooperation to eliminate the virus.
It is in this spirit that the Special ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit on COVID-19 was convened via video conference in April, he said.
The official said China's anti-COVID-19 responses in terms of sharing information and advancing international cooperation have greatly helped many countries in their battle to prevent and control the pandemic.
He praised China for having invited international experts and worked closely with the WHO, neighboring countries and affected countries including Cambodia. "This is already a clear demonstration of China's commitment to promoting concerted effort to stop the spread of COVID-19," he said.
Sokhonn said China has indeed been successful in putting the outbreak under control. Moreover, he said, despite her tasks at home, China has dispatched medical experts and supplies to many countries for help.
"The Chinese assistance significantly contributed to the effectiveness of our prevention and containment measures," he said. "Supporting and assisting each other reflect the bond of true friendship and solidarity between our two countries and peoples."
Cambodia has so far reported a total of 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases, mostly imported, and no death has been recorded, he said, adding that currently, only two out of the patients remain hospitalized.
Speaking on the future cooperation between the two countries to curb the virus spread and to rebuild economies after the virus, Sokhonn said China has dispatched a team of doctors with first-hand experience in fighting against the COVID-19, along with necessary medical supplies, to Cambodia.
Similarly, Chinese social organizations and companies have also provided medical equipment to Cambodia, he said.
"I expect the same pattern of cooperation in the future," he said. "As China is advancing in research and development of vaccine for COVID-19 and improve disease detection and control techniques, I hope Cambodia can further benefit from China's expertise and findings."
Sokhonn said it is important that the two countries continue to promote cooperation on communicable disease control due to increasing interconnectedness in terms of economic relations and people-to-people exchanges.
"As China is well recovering from the COVID-19 impact, I am confident that trade and investment with Cambodia will continue to grow, while ongoing investment and development projects will go ahead as planned and new ones will be implemented," he said. Enditem