Cambodia between China and Vietnam

Cambodia has attracted the attention from both China and Vietnam for the last years. The recent visit of Vietnamese Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong to the Kingdom has produced significant results in strengthening the traditional relationship and friendship between the two countries. Next year, the two leaders of Cambodia and Vietnam will celebrate the year of friendship and cooperation.

In the end of 2010, China and Cambodia agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation and further strengthen bilateral cooperation. In mid of this year, 2011, Cambodian Prime Minister went to attend the ASEAN-China Commemorative Summit, the 3rd ASEAN-China Expo and the 3rd ASEAN-China Business and Investment Summit in China, where China committed to support Cambodian development through big loan and grant (500million US Dollars a year).

China and Vietnam have become the top three investors in Cambodia. The bilateral trade relations between Cambodia and China and Vietnam has been recording high in recent years and on the increasing trend for the coming years. Cambodia and China agreed to increase per annum bilateral trade to 2.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. Cambodia and Vietnam also agreed to increase their bilateral volume to 5 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.

As the tension between China and Vietnam over the South China Sea is uncertain, Cambodia faces the challenge of how to maintain good traditional relationship with these two countries. Cambodia is facing with a dilemma of engaging with the South China Sea issue. Nevertheless, as a member of ASEAN, Cambodia can exercise its strategic stand within the framework of ASEAN-China relations with regard to the South China Sea. The realization of the Code of Conduct is the wish of all concerned parties. The situation can be much better when the COC is in place and confidence building measures have been strengthened and nurtured.

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