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Chinese FM Wang Yi to Embark on Southeast Asia Tour

BEIJING — China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia this week, Beijing said Wednesday as it seeks to build ties in the region.

Wang, who returned to the post last month after the unexplained disappearance of predecessor Qin Gang, will travel to the three countries from Thursday to Sunday, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“China hopes to strengthen strategic communication with the three Southeast Asian countries through this visit,” the foreign ministry said.

Cambodia has become one of China’s strongest allies in the region under the rule of outgoing ruler Hun Sen, receiving huge sums of Chinese investment.

But the flood of Chinese money has brought problems, including a rash of casinos and online scam operations staffed by foreign workers.

China’s relations with Southeast Asia have been complicated by self-proclaimed control over most of the South China Sea despite competing claims from nations including Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Maritime disagreements have pitted some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) against Beijing and boosted sympathy for U.S. opposition to China’s growing assertiveness. Others have backed Beijing.

Singapore has for decades juggled ties with China and the U.S., engaging in an increasingly delicate balancing act amid the growing rivalry between the two powers across the Asia-Pacific.

Source : VOA