The 60,000-capacity venue is the latest project under China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, a plan to fund infrastructure projects and increase its sway overseas. The presentation of the arena, intended as the main venue when Cambodia hosts the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2023, was made by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit. Cambodia’s tourism minister Thong Khon said the $150 million stadium represented China’s largest ever grant to Cambodia for an infrastructure project.
Situated in Cambodia’s capital, the Morodok Techo National Stadium resembles a sailing ship, symbolising the two nations long-standing friendship as Chinese people used to travel to Cambodia by water, officials said. It is surrounded by a moat that echoes the body of water encompassing the Angkor Wat temple complex. Prime Minister Hun Sen has in recent years faced criticism over his reliance on Beijing but he defended their relationship Sunday, saying China was a “trusted and respected friend.”