PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP)
Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked China on Tuesday for pledging to dole out foreign aid without lecturing the Southeast Asian country on good governance and democratic reforms.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged US$600 million (€496 million) in aid during a visit last week to the Southeast Asian country.
"No condition was imposed, no benchmark was set," PM Hun Sen said, unlike when developing countries pledged US$601 million (€497 million) in aid just a few weeks earlier and urged the government to curb rampant corruption.
Foreign donors, excluding China, meet on an almost annual basis with the government to discuss Cambodia's development needs. They have used the forum to castigate the government for failing to live up to its reform promises and tackle corruption.
Cambodia, one of the world's poorest nations, relies heavily on foreign aid for development.
"China talks less but does a lot," PM Hun Sen said during a speech to inaugurate a foreign investment project outside the capital Phnom Penh.
In the past, PM Hun Sen has described China as Cambodia's "most trustworthy friend."
The generous pledge was seen as a symbol of China's deepening influence in Cambodia.
China has maintained a high profile in Cambodia despite its previous strong backing of the Khmer Rouge regime that caused the deaths of some 1.7 million people in the late 1970s.
Along with millions of dollars in aid for the last decade, China has also promised to write off Cambodia's past debt and granted it tariff-free status for some 400 export items.
Last year, investments by Chinese companies were worth some US$240 million (€198 million), topping all projects approved by the government.