Mar 21, 2011 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) -- [Xinhua: "Cambodia Starts To Build Chinese-Funded Road in Northwest"]
Battambang, Cambodia, March 21 (Xinhua) - Cambodia on Monday broke ground for the construction of a China-funded 176-kilometre-road in the Northwestern part in order to facilitate travelling and trucking agricultural products to markets.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the road No 57B was held Monday in Battambang province about 350 kilometres northwest of capital Phnom Penh.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue, and top government officials, diplomatic corps, locals and students.
The road will facilitate travelling among former-battlefield provinces of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin, the premier said during the ceremony.
"The construction of the road today was resulted from good close cooperation between Cambodia and China," Hun Sen said. " Through the ambassador Pan Guangxue, I'd like to express my sincere thanks to the government and people of China for financial support for this road."
"The road will provide huge economic benefits to our people to truck their agricultural products to markets and facilitate them in travelling easier and faster," he said. "We have been turning the former fighting zones to be a development area."
The premier also asked the ambassador to help attract Chinese investors to the country's agricultural sector through investing in high technology rice mills and warehouses in order to boost Cambodia's economy and to export to China as the two countries has signed the rice and cassava export agreements already.
Meanwhile, the ambassador said that the road will be vital for rural farmers in trucking their products for markets.
"Through the construction of the road, I believe that farmers will increase their farming as it will be easier to truck their products to markets," he said.
"The road is also reflected the attention of Chinese government on Cambodian development and always ready to provide assistance to Cambodia in social and economic development," he added.
According to the master-plan, the construction of the road will cost 89.9 million US dollars, which is the soft loan from the government of China. It will take 48 months to complete.
Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0946 gmt 21 Mar 11