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China’s international minister visits Cambodia days after incumbent premier palms off the job to his son

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — China’s international minister visited Cambodia over the weekend to reaffirm his nation’s dedication to the southeast Asian nation after its incumbent prime minister handed off the job to his son following a one-sided election final month, officers mentioned.

Wang Yi is the primary international chief to go to Cambodia, days after Hun Sen’s announcement that his 45-year-old son and the nation’s military chief, Hun Manet, is changing him.

A video of the assembly was posted on Hun Sen’s Telegram channel on Sunday.

Eang Sophalleth, Hun Sen’s spokesman, advised reporters after the assembly that Wang Yi expressed China‘s willingness to cooperate with the newly-appointed prime minister.

Hun Sen, the longest-serving authorities head in Asia, and his occasion sealed a landslide victory within the nation’s basic election after barring the primary opposition group —the Candlelight Occasion— from contesting the polls on a technicality. Western nations and rights teams criticized the election saying it was neither “free” nor “truthful.”

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Wang Yi met with each Hun Sen, his newly appointed son in addition to Overseas Minister Prak Sokhonn. He praised the election saying it was free and truthful, with greater than 80% of Cambodians collaborating within the presence of a number of dozens of international observers.

On August 7, King Norodom Sihamoni formally appointed Hun Manet as the brand new premier. He’ll take workplace on Aug. 22 when the brand new Nationwide Meeting adopts the brand new cupboard.

Hun Manet received his first seat in Parliament within the election, and the handover from his father is a component of a bigger, generational shift: Many youthful lawmakers —principally educated within the West — are anticipated to take up ministerial positions, together with Hun Sen’s youngest son and others associated to older occasion members.

Cambodia is a key Chinese language diplomatic companion, serving to dampen criticism of Beijing inside the 10-member Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations, a number of of whose members are engaged in territorial disputes with China within the South China Sea.

In return, China has gained an outsized position in Cambodian politics and the economic system, as seen within the quite a few Chinese language-funded tasks, accommodations and casinos dotting the panorama. China’s state banks have additionally financed airports, roads and different infrastructure constructed with Chinese language loans. Greater than 40% of Cambodia’s $10 billion in international debt is owed to China.

In June final 12 months, China and Cambodia broke floor on a naval port growth challenge that has raised considerations from the U.S. and others that it may give Beijing a strategically necessary navy outpost on the Gulf of Thailand.

Hun Sen in 2019 reportedly granted China the precise to arrange a navy base on the Ream Naval Base. He has lengthy denied that, saying Cambodia’s Structure prohibits international navy amenities.

The getting older chief, who turned 71 final Saturday, mentioned that stepping down as prime minister “shouldn’t be the tip but” and he would serve in different positions at the very least till 2033, which might deliver him to a half-century in workplace. He’s anticipated to retain a considerable amount of management as president of his Cambodian Folks’s Occasion and because the Senate president.


Sara Aboubakr contributed to this report from Cairo.

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