PHNOM PENH, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Thursday for a state visit to Cambodia aimed at further solidifying the traditional friendship between the two countries and deepening their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
This is Xi’s first trip to the Southeast Asian nation as president. In 2009, he paid an official visit to the kingdom as vice president.
The red carpet was rolled out at the airport in the capital Phnom Penh for Xi, who was greeted by senior Cambodian government officials and members of the royal family. Smiling Cambodian children presented the Chinese president with a jasmine bracelet, and local residents, holding portraits of Chinese and Cambodian leaders, waved national flags of the two countries.
In a written speech delivered at the airport, Xi hailed China and Cambodia as “good neighbors and true friends who treat each other with all sincerity.”
The friendship has stood the test of international vicissitudes and grown even stronger since the two countries established diplomatic ties 58 years ago, Xi said.
“I believe that with the joint efforts of both sides, my visit will achieve the expected results, thus pushing our comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a higher level and bringing greater benefits to our two peoples,” he said.
The president also received a flower basket from Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk upon arrival at the hotel, which was delivered by Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol.
Xi is scheduled to meet Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, visit Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The two countries will sign a series of bilateral deals during Xi’s visit to align their development strategies and boost practical cooperation.
China and Cambodia have enjoyed a traditional friendship that was forged and cultivated by Chinese leaders of previous generations and late Cambodian King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
In June this year, Xi and Sihamoni met in Beijing when the king paid a state visit to China, and pledged to forge ahead with the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, which was established six years ago between the two countries.
On the economic front, China is now Cambodia’s largest trading partner and source of foreign investment, with bilateral collaboration expanding in such areas as trade, investment, connectivity, energy resources and infrastructure construction.
Two-way trade between China and Cambodia reached 4.43 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, an annual growth of 17.95 percent, according to China’s Commerce Ministry.
In a joint interview with Chinese media outlets in Cambodia ahead of the visit, Hun Sen said that Xi’s trip will make the traditional friendship between the two countries closer and stronger and lift bilateral relations to new heights.
After Cambodia, Xi will travel to Bangladesh and the western Indian state of Goa, where he will attend a summit of the emerging-market bloc of BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.