China gives Cambodia aid and thanks for Asean help
PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - China has pledged more than US$500 million (S$622 million) in soft loans and grants to Cambodia and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao thanked it for helping Beijing maintain good relations with the regional grouping Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), a Cambodian junior minister said.
A summit of the 10 members of Asean in July failed to issue a joint communique for the first time in the group's 45-year history after disagreement over the wording of a section on territorial claims in the South China Sea. Cambodia, which chairs Asean meetings this year, was accused by some countries in the group of stonewalling in support of its ally, China.
Four loan agreements for unspecified projects worth about US$420 million were signed when Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited China over the weekend, Secretary of State for Finance Aun Porn Moniroth told a briefing late on Monday.
Another three loan agreements, worth more than US$80 million, are expected to be signed this year, Mr Aun Porn Moniroth said, adding that Mr Wen had also promised a grant of US$24 million as "a gift" for Cambodia to use on any priority project.