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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

China to build giant hydro project in Cambodia

Beijing has unveiled plans to build a £347 million hydroelectric power plant in Cambodia.

China's state-owned Huadian Corporation plans to begin building the 338 megawatt plant this year, the company said in a statement posted on the website of the China Electricity Council.

The announcement followed the signing last week of a financing agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China during a China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Nanning.
Cambodia's economy has grown rapidly over the past decade, but poverty remains widespread, particularly in the countryside where basic infrastructure is still lacking.

Apart from the hydroelectric plant, which will be Cambodia's biggest, Huadian said last month that it plans to build two 50 megawatt coal-fired facilities with partner Cambodia Energy Ltd.

Huadian's new energy development division recently signed an agreement to invest 26 billion yuan (£2.36bn) in building five solar projects with a total annual power output of 2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in Jiayuguan, Gansu province, over the next 10 years.

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Cambodian PM says Thai government won't survive

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said indicated on Tuesday that relations with neighbouring Thailand remained tense and said "it won't be long" before a change of government in Bangkok.

The outspoken premier, who has made it clear he is unwilling to cooperate with the current Thai leadership, said ties might be restored soon -- but only because Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's embattled government will not last much longer.

"There is no need to set conditions to send back the (Thai) ambassador," he said at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh. "Wait for the next government -- it won't be long."

Hun Sen's comments came ahead of a planned push to unseat the Thai government by protesters and parliamentarians allied with exiled former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was appointed an economic adviser by Hun Sen and offered asylum.

The speech followed Cambodia's decision on Monday to return control of Cambodia Air Traffic Services to its Thai owners after taking temporary control of the company and suspending its Thai staff over a spying controversy [ID:nBKK496131].

One of its engineers was sentenced to seven years in prison for leaking details of Thaksin's flight to Phnom Penh in November to a Thai diplomat. He was released after Thaksin lobbied Cambodia to pardon him in what his critics said was a publicity stunt to discredit the Thai government [ID:nBKK430205].

Thaksin's job in Phnom Penh and his visit there angered Bangkok, which is trying to seek his extradition, and resulted in a recall and expulsion of diplomats by both sides.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Tuesday that relations were unlikely to improve unless Cambodia reconsidered its appointment of the fugitive billionaire.

Hun Sen said Thaksin's appointment had nothing to do with the row, which he said stemmed from Thailand's opposition to Cambodia's listing of its 11th Century Preah Vihear temple as a U.N. heritage site, and a deadly skirmish between border troops, which he described as a Thai "invasion".

Abhisit's government has said the listing, which the previous administration had supported, should not go ahead until the land around the temple, which straddles their joint border, is properly demarcated.

For a Q+A click [ID:nSGE60A0B4] and related analysis [ID:nSGE5BH0EH]). (Additional Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak in Bangkok; Writing by Ambika Ahuja; Editing by Martin Petty))
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FM: Thailand still not to normalize relations with Cambodia now

BANGKOK, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Tuesday that currently, it is still not the time to normalize the relations with Cambodia, Thai News Agency reported.

If Cambodia has not ended its relationships with ousted former Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, it will be difficult to improve the bilateral tie, Kasit said.

No matter what Cambodia would say, it could not change the fact that Cambodia has not respected the justice system of Thailand, Kasit said.

The diplomatic problem between the two countries has occurred after Cambodia has appointed Thaksin as an economic advisor to Cambodia's government and Hun Sen from Nov. 4.

A day after the appointment, the Cambodian government announced recall of its ambassador to Thailand in a move to respond to the Thai government's recall of its ambassador to Cambodia.
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