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China key strategic partner of Cambodia, ASEAN: Cambodian PM

(Xinhua)

08:06, April 05, 2012

PHNOM PENH, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, chair of 2012 ASEAN, said Wednesday China is a major strategic partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) and Cambodia.

Answering reporter's questions about the relations between ASEAN and China, the premier criticized some analysts who alleged that China and some ASEAN countries are preparing for a possible war.

"That is a completely wrong understanding, in contrast, the ASEAN leaders or ASEAN are all prepared to strengthen strategic partnership of ASEAN and China," he told a press conference after the conclusion of the 20th ASEAN Summit.

"Don't forget that ASEAN and China are the strategic partners and China is the ASEAN's largest trading partner," he said.

China has substantially helped ASEAN, he said, adding that annually China provides credit to ASEAN member states.

He recalled that during the ASEAN-China Summit in Indonesia last year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China will grant ASEAN a credit of 10 billion U.S. dollars. Within the amount, 4 billion U.S. dollars is for concessional loans, and Cambodia has also received it for infrastructure development.

On Cambodia-China ties, Hun Sen said the two countries raised their relations of good neighbors, good friends and good partners to comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation in 2010.

He said China's loans to Cambodia are very important to develop roads, bridges, irrigation system, and electricity, which are the key elements to boost economic growth.

He noted that many Chinese investors are in Cambodia with their investments up to 9 billion U.S. dollars.

On some media reports that Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Cambodia ahead of the ASEAN Summit was aimed to put pressure on Cambodia on the issue of South China Sea, the premier said that President Hu's visit was to further enhance Cambodia-China ties, not pertinent to the ASEAN Summit.

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