Xi welcomes longtime royal friends

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-07 07:41

Xi welcomes longtime royal friends

President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan meet with visiting Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath on Monday in Beijing.[Photo by Zhang Duo/Xinhua]

China and Cambodia should push their cooperation forward on major projects, President Xi Jinping said on Monday while meeting with visiting Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath.

The two countries should maintain high-level exchanges, and the leaders should visit each other frequently like visiting relatives, Xi said, while calling for connection of both countries' development strategies.

The president spoke highly of the contributions that the Cambodian royal family has made to the two countries' friendship. The friendship was forged and cultivated by previous generations of Chinese leaders and the late Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, he said.

Sihanouk lived in China for nearly 40 years before passing away in Beijing in 2012. He played a key role in the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia in 1958.

China and Cambodia have maintained high mutual political trust, benefited mutually from their economic ties and coordinated closely in international affairs, Xi said, adding that China is willing to make joint efforts for greater bilateral achievements to benefit both peoples.

He also called for enhancing coordination in multilateral affairs and making continuous efforts for regional peace and China-ASEAN cooperation.

Sihamoni and Monineath expressed gratitude for China's long-term support of Cambodia's economic and social development.

They called Xi's state visit to Cambodia in October historic, firmly strengthening Cambodia-China cooperation. Xi's visit was marked by the two countries agreeing to jointly implement the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and enhance cooperation in production capacity.

The initiative, consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was put forward by Xi in 2013 with a focus on infrastructure and trade.

In a message to the Cambodian people, Sihamoni said his trip to Beijing was to have his health checked, according to Xinhua News Agency. The king usually has a checkup by Chinese doctors twice a year, the report said.

Jin Yong, a professor of international relations research at the Communication University of China, said that Cambodia, an important member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has firmly supported China in national sovereignty issues in recent years.

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