PHNOM PENH, June 11 - On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, all friendly countries sent warm congratulations to China.

Looking back at the historical line of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia, the situation has changed over the past 63 years. Why the friendship between China and Cambodia can endure and last forever? From the political mutual trust in the early days of the founding of the country to the deepened cooperation of the Belt and Road Initiative to mutual assistance in the COVID-19 crisis, what historical test has China-Cambodia friendship withstood?

[China-Cambodia friendship in history books]

The ancient history book Zhou Daguan’s "The Customs of Cambodia" mentioned that the Chinese who first came to Cambodia, mainly businessmen, and lived around the delta by the Mekong River. China and Cambodia have maintained good-neighborly and friendly relations since ancient times.

At the Bandung Conference in 1955, the first meeting between the former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and King Sihanouk opened the prelude to the friendship between China and Cambodia. Sihanouk is an active figure on the international stage. Through his majesty to convey China's voice to the world and expand China's influence. Similarly, King Sihanouk has openly supported China on many occasions and forged a profound friendship with Chinese leaders and China.

Beginning in 1956, China initiated economic assistance to Cambodia, providing materials and commodities free of charge, and assisting in the construction of a complete set of equipment projects. Cambodia became the first country where China provided free assistance to non-socialist countries. Similarly, Cambodia supports the UN’s acceptance of the People’s Republic of China and opposes the “two Chinas” approach.

In April 1965, the relationship between Cambodia and the United States fell to a freezing point. At the beginning of the month, an American magazine published an article publicly criticizing the mother of King Sihanouk. At the end of the month, US military planes crossed the Cambodian border and bombed Cambodian villages, killing and wounding innocent villagers. Sihanouk was extremely angry and broke off diplomatic relations with the United States in May.

In the mid-1960s, when Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam were under tremendous military pressure from the United States, China resolutely provided not only economic and military assistance to Cambodia, but also security guarantees. This is extremely rare in the experience of cooperation between China and non-socialist countries, and it is also a historical testimony of China-Cambodia relations as "comrades-in-arms", "cooperative partners" and "old friends".

The 2020 pandemic crisis has swept the world. History overlaps again. This year of shared hardship and suffering has also allowed the Chinese and Cambodian people to walk out of history and truly feel the profound friendship between China and Cambodia.
After the outbreak in China, King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Monineath generously donated money and materials. Prime Minister Hun Sen visited China at the most difficult time of China's fight against the epidemic, and gave China the firmest support. After the outbreak of the epidemic in Cambodia, China sent a team of medical experts to Cambodia to share anti-epidemic and diagnosis and treatment experience, and aid anti-epidemic materials and donations.

Since late February this year, a large-scale outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has occurred. As the COVID-19 epidemic threatens to continue to spread, speeding up implementation is a top priority. The Chinese government provided free aid to Cambodia for the first batch of 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on February 7. This is the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines Cambodia has obtained, and Cambodia has therefore become one of the first countries in ASEAN to start vaccination against COVID-19.

Currently, a number of 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been obtained, including 1.7 million doses of China Sinopharm vaccine, 4 million doses of China Sinovac vaccine, and 324 thousand doses of AstraZeneca vaccine provided by WHO's "New Coronary Pneumonia Vaccine Implementation Plan". The Chinese vaccine has become the most important weapon for Cambodia to establish an immune defense line. So far, there are 2.3 million people in Cambodia have been vaccinated China vaccine.

“Cambodia’s COVID-19 vaccine mainly comes from China, and China’s tremendous support for Cambodia’s fight against the epidemic is unforgettable and admirable. Cambodia and China’s joint fight against the epidemic truly reflects the unbreakable friendship and mutual trust between the two countries.” Cambodia Ministry of Health spokesperson Owanding said in an interview.

[The epidemic does not stop China-Cambodia cooperation]

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 disrupted the original arrangements. However, the two sides still overcome difficulties and work hard to realize the export of mangoes to China. On June 9, 2020, the two sides signed the Plant Inspection and Quarantine Protocol for Cambodian Mangoes Exported to China. On March 10, 2021, China review the registered orchards and packaging plants through video conference. On April 26, the General Administration of Customs of China officially announced the list of 37 registered orchards for exporting Cambodian mangoes to China and 5 packaging plants. So far, Cambodian mango has officially become the second fresh fruit that can be directly exported to China after bananas.

On May 21, the first batch of Cambodian mangoes successfully arrived in Guangxi, China. DR. CHHEANG VANNARITH, a board of directors of the Asian Vision Institute, said that the realization of exports to China will help the development of the Cambodian mango industry and increase the income of Cambodian farmers, which is particularly important under the economic difficulties caused by the epidemic.

"This is one of China's important measures to assist Cambodia's recovery after the epidemic. Agriculture and agro-processing industries are the most important areas to improve the living standards of Cambodian people. We look forward to more Chinese companies investing in related industries in Cambodia."

Over the past 63 years, China-Cambodia cooperation has embodied all aspects and the cooperation has been fruitful. "Two languages, one wish." From the leaders of the two countries to ordinary people, the friendship of "Friends of Steel" has also continued.

[China and Cambodia in the eyes of leaders]

"China has given us a lot of generous, brotherly, unconditional, and multi-form support, which has enabled us to achieve a historic victory. I believe that China will continue to be our top supporter of Cambodia in the future!" Cambodian founding father Sihanouk ——In 1975, Sihanouk said his words of thanks when he said goodbye to China.

"I have known all previous leaders of China and have a special friendship, for which I am very proud." Empress Monineath. ——In 2019, Cambodian Queen Mother Monineath said during her visit to China

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen: "If Cambodia does not rely on China, who can we rely on? If we do not rely on China, the current Cambodian people may have to cross the river by boat, or even have no roads. With the assistance of China, Cambodia already has many Infrastructure." ——In 2021, "Future of Asia" international video conference Hun Sen responds to questions from reporters

In a survey on "what do Cambodians think", the vast majority of Cambodians regard China as the best international partner in the fields of diplomacy, economy, trade and infrastructure. When answering who is Cambodia's best trading partner, 46% of respondents chose China, followed by Thailand (38%), the United States (25%) and Vietnam (25%). 38% of respondents also believe that China is Cambodia's best foreign policy partner, 28% of respondents choose the United States, and another 23% choose Japan. In terms of infrastructure, economics, and public service partnerships, 44% of respondents ranked China first, 38% ranked Japan second, and the United States ranked third (25%).

"I like to use Chinese products, the quality is very good." "There are many Chinese products, and the price is very affordable." "I like Chinese culture very much, and I want to study in China in the future." "We welcome Chinese friends to Cambodia." .......... In the cultural, political and economic exchanges between China and Cambodia, more and more Cambodians have made positive comments.

[Chinese people see Cambodia]

"Cambodia is also my second hometown." said Mr. Huang, a Chinese compatriot who has worked hard in Cambodia for many years. In 1996, with the dream of starting a business, he went to Cambodia to invest and set up a factory. Up to now, it has been more than 20 years. "My child can speak not only Chinese, but also Khmer."

Mr. Huang proudly said that in the past 20 years, he has been rooted in Cambodia, has adapted to overseas life in Cambodia, made more foreign friends, and felt the simple and strong struggle of the Cambodian people.

With the close economic and trade exchanges between China and Cambodia, more Chinese have integrated into local life. The Chinese and overseas Chinese in Cambodia spoke highly of the friendship between the two countries and wished China-Cambodia friendship everlasting.

The elder sister of a Chinese restaurant in Phnom Penh: I have been in Cambodia for more than 20 years to open a restaurant. The "Beijing Restaurant" originated from the tradition for the King and the Queen Mother of Cambodia to recuperate in Beijing every year, and "Beigang" (Cambodian transliteration) is also well known by Cambodians. Since the store opened, it has been loved by locals in Cambodia.

Teacher Wu, who teaches in Cambodia: I have been teaching Chinese in Cambodia for more than two years. The international school where he teaches has a five-year cooperative relationship with domestic universities, and he came to Phnom Penh to work upon graduation. The children here are very enthusiastic in learning Chinese.

Mr. Gao from Northeast Restaurant: Two years ago, he responded to the call of the Belt and Road Initiative and came to Cambodia to develop the catering industry. The biggest change I have seen in Cambodia in the past two years is that there are more and more Cambodians who can speak Chinese.

With the advancement of China-Cambodia friendship, more and more Cambodians have begun to accept this group of foreign friends. At the same time, more Chinese who pursue their dreams and love culture are embarking on the road of "seeking Cambodia". Entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers , Couriers... Chinese people from all walks of life have left a presence in Cambodia, becoming a part of the witness of the history of China-Cambodia friendship, and writing the history of China-Cambodia with their own experiences.

We are witnesses and writers. In the future, history books will be written by a new generation, which will also inspire more young people to jointly protect China-Cambodia friendship, so that "China-Cambodia steel friends" can continue.