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Friday, March 30, 2012

China’s Hu Visits Cambodia as Asean Leaders Eye Sea Disputes

By Daniel Ten Kate

President Hu Jintao today becomes the first Chinese head of state to visit Cambodia in 12 years, in a trip days before Southeast Asian leaders gather for talks that may touch on territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Hu’s visit, which lasts until April 2, will deepen ties between Cambodia and China, its largest investor, the official Xinhua news agency reported March 27, citing the country’s ambassador in Phnom Penh, the capital. China appreciates Cambodia’s support on core interests, the report said, adding that China opposes outside interference on the South China Sea.

“Cambodians will not want to upset the Chinese by pushing the South China Sea on the agenda of the Asean meeting,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies in Singapore. In the past two years, previous hosts Vietnam and Indonesia “really pushed the issue, so that momentum will slow under a Cambodian chairmanship,” he said.

Vietnam and the Philippines have pushed the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a common position regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where Exxon Mobil Corp. and Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) are searching for oil and gas. Cambodia holds the bloc’s rotating chairmanship.
The South China Sea contains oil reserves that may total as much as 213 billion barrels, according to Chinese studies cited in 2008 by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. China used patrol boats last year to disrupt hydrocarbon survey activities in waters it claims, chasing away a ship working for Forum Energy Plc (FEP) off the Philippines and slicing cables of a survey vessel doing work for Vietnam.

The Philippines said in January it’s ready to host a summit to help resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea. China must meet with the countries claiming part of the sea “under the guidance” of Asean as soon as possible, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Jan. 15.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at dtenkate@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net
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Vietnam, Cambodia look to boost investment ties

PHNOM PENH – The Vietnamese Government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) always give priority to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in Cambodia, SBV Governor Nguyen Van Binh said.

Binh made this statement at a presentation held on Mar. 29 in Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh by the SBV, the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia and the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Cambodia (AVIC), with the participation of about 50 businesses operating in Cambodia .

The governor said that many Vietnamese banks had branches in Cambodia , including Military Bank (MB), Saigon Commercial Bank (Sacombank), Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

The SBV will continue licensing Vietnam 's major commercial banks to open new branches in Cambodia , to support payment and capital borrowings for businesses, he said.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Ngo Anh Dung called for the investment of Vietnamese enterprises in the neighbouring country. He suggested that Vietnamese businesses should carefully study Cambodia 's market, and strictly follow Vietnamese and Cambodian laws.

At the event, President of the AVIC Tran Bac Ha also said Vietnam 's investments in Cambodia have initially gained remarkable achievements; however, there are still difficulties and challenges, adding that it is necessary to hold an annual dialogue to promote advantages and solve difficulties.

According to AVIC reports, Vietnam 's investment in Cambodia has increased rapidly since late 2009. Vietnam has 98 projects, double the 2009 figure, with a registered capital of 2.4 billion USD.

Vietnam ranks fourth among foreign investors in Cambodia, following China, the Republic of Korea and Australia, focusing on fields of banking, energy, transport and tourism.- VNA
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VN-Cambodia border marker project on schedule

PHNOM PENH– National Assembly Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son has expressed the belief that placement of markers along the Vietnam-Cambodia border will be completed as scheduled, to turn the two countries' border into the border of friendship and cooperation.

NA Vice Chairman Son made the statement at a reception given by Cambodian NA Chairman Heng Samrin in Phnom Penh on March 30.

Son, who is on an official visit to Cambodia and attend the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly from March 29-April 3, said he hopes Vietnam will receive further assistance from the Cambodian NA, government, army and people to repatriate the remains of Vietnamese soldiers and experts, who laid down their lives in Cambodia.

Chairman Heng Samrin hailed the Vietnamese NA delegation's visit, saying that the visit will help elevate the traditional friendship and solidarity between the two peoples.

He expressed his thanks to the Vietnamese Party, Government and people for their valuable and effective assistance to help Cambodia escape from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime and achieve the current development level.

During the six-day visit, NA Vice Chairman Son held talks with his Cambodian counterpart Nguon Nhel and held working sessions with Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Relations with the National Assembly, Senate and Inspection Men Som Ol.

He also paid a courtesy visit to First Vice President of the Cambodian Senate Say Chhum and met with Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of National Defence, Tea Banh.-VNA
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