Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for Cambodia

On December 21st – 22nd, 2015, Mr. Travis Mitchell, Director of the Council for Research and Creativity, Ms. Nem Sowathey, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and Mr. Florian Chavigny, Research Fellow, attended a symposium at the Intercontinental Hotel Phnom Penh entitled, “The Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for Cambodia,” under the supervision of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia.

Many different speakers from several countries and organizations took part in the debate by presenting their work and research on the subject. H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, H.E. Mrs. Bu Jianguo, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, H.E. Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers, presided over the debate. 129 participants, mostly from Cambodian universities with some participants from other countries in Asia including RUPP, University of Puthisastra, and the National University of Management, attended the conference. The other participants mostly came from various ministries in Cambodia such as the Ministry of Commerce, Education Youth and Sport, and Transportation, and from private companies or institutes including China Duty Free Group, and Mekong Dialogue Institute.

Topics were grouped under three main themes: Sino-Cambodia Relations in the Context of the Belt and Road Initiative: Opportunities and Challenges; China’s Maritime Silk Road and Implication for ASEAN Connectivity; and ASEAN Cooperation toward Peaceful and Sustainable Development in the Region. After the workshop, the representatives of the University of Cambodia agreed that we may have some opportunities for UC to further engage with the Chinese Embassy as well as focus on China-based research.