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Interview: Capital shortage main obstacle for Cambodia in connectivity development: official

PHNOM PENH, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A lack of capital is the main obstacle for Cambodia to expedite connectivity development and the Southeast Asian country hopes that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund will fill the shortage, a spokesman said. "Our major difficulty in developing infrastructures is capital," Va Sim Sorya, a spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told Xinhua, adding that currently, infrastructures such as roads, bridges, and ports have been constructed under financial aid from friendly countries and international financial institutions. "We hope that Cambodia will get more capital for connectivity development from the AIIB and the Silk Road Fund,"he said."Both AIIB and the fund will create a new source of capital for developing countries, including Cambodia."

According to the spokesman, Cambodia's Public Works and Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek will attend the Boao Forum in south China's Hainan province from March 27 to 29, and he will join a session on jointly building the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

Va Sim Sorya said the country has well developed roads to link to its neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Laos and Thailand; however, the nation has seen the slow development of railways and waterways. "Sea ports are also well-connected to other countries, but railways and waterways are still slowly developed,"he said.

He said the country hopes that China will provide financial aid to Cambodia to build a new rail link from capital Phnom Penh to Vietnamese border (a missing line in the Singapore-Kunming Railway project) with the length of 255 km with an estimated cost of 686 million U.S. dollars. "This project is very important for Cambodia to facilitate travel and transportation when ASEAN turns into a community,"he said.

Sharing his views on China's aid to Cambodia for infrastructure development, Va Sim Sorya said"China is the largest road and bridge provider to Cambodia. Without China, Cambodia will not timely have a great amount of capital for the construction of the nation."

Chheang Vannarith, a senior researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said AIIB will play a crucial role in promoting regional integration and development. "It also serves as regional financial instrument in preventing and managing future regional economic crisis,"he said.

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