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Hallmark of friendship

By KHEK CAIMEALY SYSODA | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-05-17 07:31
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Cooperation between China and Cambodia during the COVID-19 pandemic has forged even stronger relations

The world is facing challenges due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all countries' social and economic aspects over more than two years. Through these difficult times, Cambodia and China have been strengthening cooperation to fight against this pandemic together in order to build a community with a shared future between the two countries.

Cambodia and China have long been in historical and commercial relations dated back to the early 12th century. In the modern time, official diplomatic relations were established on July 19, 1958. The ties were further flourishing during Cambodia's late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, at a personal level, to cultivate a profound friendly relationship with different generations of Chinese leaders, especially the frequent visits of the King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen. On Dec 13, 2010, the two countries upgraded their relations to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed an action plan (2019-23) on building the Cambodia-China community of a shared future. Moreover, on Nov 6, 2020, President Xi Jinping awarded Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk the Friendship Medal of the People's Republic of China as a sign of the intimate friendship between the two nations.

The two countries have close cooperation in the sub-regional, regional and global frameworks, and the two peoples also enjoy the fruits of this cooperation. In the framework of China-ASEAN cooperation, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have a long fruitful cooperation, and this cooperation has contributed to maintaining peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region. Furthermore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, China has provided a lot of assistance to ASEAN member states, including masks, medical materials, vaccines and so on. During the ASEAN-China Special Summit in November last year, President Xi announced that China would offer another 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for ASEAN, as well as $1.5 billion in the form of development aid over the next three years.

Since the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Cambodia and China have supported each other and strengthened cooperation to combat together against the virus. The cooperation is cemented to another level as strong as iron. China, a close friend and one of the most important partners for the development of Cambodia, has extended its utmost support to Cambodia in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, including the provision of medical supplies, technical experts and vaccines.

With the wise and flexible leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and support from China, Cambodia was very successful in containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in community. Cambodia has vaccinated nearly 94 percent of the overall 16 million population. Over 8.8 million people have received a third dose, and more than 2 million got their fourth dose. This achievement can be reached by the flexible manoeuvre of the royal government of Cambodia and the assistance from our friends and partners, particularly China. Thanks to the timely and immense support, the daily infection rate is down to a single digit in spite of the threat of Omicron variant.

With a new milestone of the bilateral health cooperation taking place in January 2022, an agreement on dispatching a traditional Chinese medical team against COVID-19 to Cambodia was signed by Cambodian health minister and China's deputy head of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A team of 10 medical experts arrived in Cambodia in mid-March 2022, who helped enhance the Cambodian medical professionals, developed targeted training manuals and courses, and provided treatment services, including COVID-19 treatment, to local people.

Cambodia will receive long-term benefits from its cooperation with China as it will essentially and crucially contribute to the effectiveness of the royal government of Cambodia in not only combating the COVID-19 pandemic but also preparing for possible future pandemic or health crisis. As of now the medical experts are only carrying out their tasks at the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh, the two countries will extend the scope of cooperation to other provincial hospitals in Cambodia in the near future.

On behalf of the government and people of Cambodia and myself, I highly appreciate the government and people of China for timely assistance to Cambodia in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Cambodia's success in battling against the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be achieved if it does not have any contribution from friends of China. The relations and cooperation between the two countries will be further developed to a new stage for mutual interests and for the sake of peace, prosperity, harmony and stability in the region.







The author is the Cambodian ambassador to China.

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