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Long Beach Mayor Forges Closer Ties With Phnom Penh

FILE PHOTO - Cambodian Student Society members Sraiph Phan, 21, left, and Danny Sre, 16, march during the Cambodian New Year's Parade in Long Beach Calif., on Sunday, April 24, 2005.

Long Beach is the second-busiest port in the United States after Los Angeles and is home to more than 20,000 Cambodian-Americans.

A delegation from the Californian city of Long Beach led by its mayor has made a four-day visit to Cambodia to strengthen trade and cultural ties with its sister city of Phnom Penh.

The delegation, led by Mayor Robert Garcia, met with several government officials, including the commerce minister and minister of transport.

“Mayor Garcia is visiting to renew the sister city relationship between Long Beach and Phnom Penh, first signed in 1993,” the US Embassy in Phnom Penh said on its Facebook page. “This is the first time a sitting Long Beach mayor has visited Cambodia! Together, Long Beach and Phnom Penh celebrate the people-to-people ties, as well as the growing trade ties, between our two countries.”

Garcia reportedly told reporters at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh his visit was “to ensure that trade is strengthened and that we have a great cultural exchange.”

“So we’re proud to be here and we just love everybody in Long Beach and we love Cambodia and the Cambodian community,” he added, according to the Facebook page of the Long Beach-Phnom Penh sister cities.

The visit to Phnom Penh was part of a nine-day tour of Asia, which also included Singapore and Vietnam.

Long Beach is the second-busiest port in the United States after Los Angeles and is home to more than 20,000 Cambodian-Americans, making it the largest community of Cambodians outside of Cambodia. The city has been designated a “Cambodia Town” to honor their contributions to the wider US population.

“In the history of our country, our nation has never before had the honor of having a formal designation of Cambodia Town, culture, and business district in a foreign country,” King Norodom Sihamoni said in a speech that was broadcast on state television. “We’re grateful to you Mr. Mayor and to you, Mr. chairman [of Cambodia Town] for your very loyal gesture.”