Cambodian PM Hun Sen begins a three-day visit to China today. Hun Sen will be the first foreign leader the
Cambodian PM Hun Sen begins a three-day visit to China today.
Hun Sen will be the first foreign leader the Chinese government hosts since Lunar New Year celebrations. During the visit, the Chinese leaders will conduct in-depth exchanges on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common concern. The Cambodian prime minister will likely push for more Chinese mega-infrastructure projects.
The trip comes as the Kingdom’s excess debt to China continues to rise each year. Cambodia’s debt to Chinese lenders exceeded 10 percent of its GDP, and an estimated US$5.3 billion is being invested in Cambodia as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Further, Cambodia is the most willing of all ASEAN member states to align itself with China’s strategic interests.
Expect more Chinese money to be pumped into the Kingdom’s economic development. Beijing is expected to provide new funds to Phnom Penh for the construction of a high-speed rail line linking the Cambodian capital to Poipet on the Thai border. Conversely, China will be looking behind-the-scenes to expand its strategic reach, with the Ream Naval Base at the forefront, to counter Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.