HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: CHINESE EXPANSION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: CHINESE EXPANSION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Op-Ed: War on the Rocks

CHARLES EDELMAY 9, 2019 COMMENTARY

Beijing’s geopolitical moves continue to obfuscate its larger designs, surprise observers, and render the United States and its allies reactive. The prospect of a Chinese naval base in Cambodia offers a case in point.

This issue — seemingly obscure and inconsequential to many observers — made the news in late 2018 when American Vice President Mike Pence raised it in a letter to Cambodia’s increasingly authoritarianleader, Hun Sen. Subsequently, Hun Sen dismissed media reports that China sought a naval base in Cambodia as “fake news.” In repeated denials, he proclaimed that Cambodia’s constitution prohibits any foreign country from setting up military bases within the country’s sovereign territory.

Recent satellite imagery depicting an airport runway in Cambodia’s remote Koh Kong province. Its length is similar to those built on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and it is long enough to support Chinese military reconnaissance, fighter, and bomber aircraft. Source: EO Browser.

Hun Sen promised with Vietnam’s leader not to allow foreign military base in Cambodia soil

And yet, questions remain. Recent commercial satellite imagery shows that Union Development Group, a Chinese-owned construction firm, has been rushing to complete a runway in Cambodia’s remote Koh Kong province on the southwestern coast. It appears long enough to support military aircraft and matches the length of the runways built on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea to support military reconnaissance, fighter and bomber aircraft. Moreover, given the amount of political and economic support Hun Sen has received from Beijing, his independence seems increasingly doubtful.

However, these accusations and denials prevent a meaningful discussion of what the establishment of such a base would mean and what an appropriate response to such an eventuality would look like. They also obscure the question of why Beijing would seek to build a military base in Cambodia.

For Beijing, the strategic dividends of acquiring a military base in southeast Asia are numerous: a more favorable operational environment in the waters ringing southeast Asia, a military perimeter ringing and potentially enclosing mainland southeast Asia, and potentially easier and less restricted access to the Indian Ocean. These benefits are not all of equal value to Chinese strategists, nor does China need any of them immediately. But the logic of Chinese expansion suggests that sooner or later, Beijing will need such a military outpost in southeast Asia, and Hun Sen’s Cambodia presents especially fertile geographic and political soil.

While Hun Sen currently denies that he would allow the rotational presence of the Chinese military or a more permanent Chinese military base on Cambodian territory, strategy often deals in the realm of the possible. Proactively dealing with this challenge requires understanding the Chinese template for developing military bases, thinking through the strategic effects of such a base in Cambodia, and developing options to forestall such a development.

The Chinese Template

Forming a picture of what a Chinese military outpost in Cambodia could look like and how quickly one could become operational is not an act of wild speculation. Chinese efforts elsewhere provide evidence of a simple template. In the South China Sea, in Djibouti, and in other locations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Beijing has followed a similar pattern in which denial precedes further action and helps to veil the full extent of Beijing’s aims.

The Chinese template for construction of new military basing was on full display in the South China Sea, where Beijing pursued the quick buildup and rapid militarization of facilities in the Spratly Islands. Chinese officials denied that plans existed for base construction even as Chinese fisherman and private construction companies began to undertake such efforts. Once base construction was underway, Chinese officials claimed such actions were undertaken for humanitarian purposes and continually promised they would not militarize the South China Sea. Once militarization of these facilities was complete, Beijing again shifted its explanations, noting that the military bases were purely defensive in nature. Finally, the Chinese military began building hangars and infrastructure required to deploy fighter jets and other military aircraft to these islands, just as they installed anti-ship cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and military jamming equipment.

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Champagne With Dictators

Champagne With Dictators

Posted Mon 30 Jul 2018, 9:49pmUpdated Fri 3 Aug 2018, 12:15pm

Op-Ed: Four Corners

Australia accused of failing to stand up for democracy as Cambodia descends into dictatorship.

“You don’t drink champagne with the dictators.” Opposition Leader

For more than three decades Cambodia has been ruled by one man, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who came to power in the country’s first democratic elections after the horror years of the Khmer Rouge.

Australia played a key role in the peace deal that ended the bloody civil war, but the once bright hopes for democracy have long since faded.

“We were tremendously successful in bringing peace to Cambodia, but we weren’t at all successful in bringing democracy and human rights.” Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans

Ahead of this weekend’s elections, the Hun Sen regime launched a ruthless crackdown on the political opposition and free press. On Monday, in her first story for Four Corners, reporter Sophie McNeill travels to Cambodia to confront the man whose political opponents have been imprisoned and assassinated in mysterious circumstances.

Sophie McNeil: The world says this is not a democracy…

Hun Sen: No, no, no. No this is not (right).

While steadily cementing their grip on power, Hun Sen and his family and cronies are accused of amassing enormous wealth through a corrupt and nepotistic system.

“There’s nothing that happens there that they don’t control, and that is corruption in its most egregious form. That’s what it’s like in Cambodia. It is a Mafia state.” Patrick Alley, Director Global Witness

Four Corners has uncovered evidence of how the regime’s wealth has been used to buy properties and businesses in Australia, where some of Hun Sen’s relatives have established a base for building support, sometimes through threats and intimidation.

“They allow this foreign government to intimidate our people, Australian citizens, and those who come here to study. This is not right.” Hong Lim, Victorian MP

Since 2014, Australia has granted the regime $40 million in additional aid, in return for taking some of Australia’s unwanted refugees, and the Turnbull Government upgraded ties with Cambodia last year. While the US has begun moves to sanction the regime by freezing assets and blocking visas, international observers accuse the Australian Government of cosying up to Hun Sen.

“I would like to see Australia take a strong stance, (to) come out openly and condemn the Hun Sen regime. They’re not doing that.” US Congressman

While hopes for democracy have disintegrated, China has moved to dramatically expand its presence and power in the country.

“Cambodia has the coast, Cambodia has minerals, Cambodia has forest, Cambodia has a dictator. You can buy it all.” Opposition Leader

As Hun Sen prepares to tighten his grip on power after this weekend’s elections, Cambodia’s democracy campaigners say they feel abandoned.

“Cambodia look up at the people of Australia. We envy you. You live in a world of democracy, but your Government is disappointing. Very disappointing.” Opposition Leader

Champagne with Dictators, reported by Sophie McNeill and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 30th July at 8.30 pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 31st July at 1.00pm and Wednesday 2nd August at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on the ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, on ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

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It is time to listen the will of the CNRP Voters

ខ្ញុំគិតថាដល់ពេលដែលត្រូវស្តាប់និងធ្វើតាមអ្នកបោះឆ្នោតអោយសមាជិកឃុំ-សង្កាត់ទាំងអស់នោះហើយ អោយទៅអង្គុយតវ៉ានៅចំពោះមុខតុលាការក្នុងការកោះហៅតំណាងរបស់ពួកគេ ដោយសុខចិត្តចូលគុកបើគេចាប់ដាក់គុកនិងមិនញញើតជាមួយការគំរាមឬការអុចអាល…ខ្មែរក្នុងនិងក្រៅប្រទេសនឹងជួយស្រាក់ដៃគ្នាជាថវិការជួលមេធាវីខ្លាំងៗការពារពួកគេនៅចំពោះមុខច្បាប់។

I think that this is time to listen and follow the will of voters of CNRP commune-sanghat leaders. They could shoulder to protest at the court of those verdicts against their representatives. They accept to sleep in prison if they are arrested. They will not fear by threat or discouraged by inciting. All Khmers domestically and international shall afford to support them financially to get high professional lawyers to defend them in front of the laws accordingly and collectively.


មកដល់​ម៉ោង​នេះ​ លោក​ ភឿក​ ឡំ​ ទី២០!
​ ១-លោក​ ផាន់ រ៉េត​ អតីជំទប់ទី១សង្កាត់ក្តុលដូនទាវ​២-លោក​ រឿន កែម​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់ក្តុលដូនទាវ​ ៣-កញ្ញា​ ស៊ិន​ ចាន់​រ៉ូហ្សេត​ អតីតចៅសង្កាអូរចារ​ ៤-លោក​ ម៉ក់ រ៉ា​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់ទួលតាឯក​ ៥-លោក​ ឃួន ចំរេីន​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់ចំការសំរោង​ ៦-លោក​ សុឹម ឡៅ​ អតីតសមាជិកប្រតិបត្តិបក្សសំពៅលូន​ ៧-លោក​ ​ស៊ិន​ សាន​ អតីតសមាជិកប្រតិបត្តិបក្សស្រុកសំពៅលូន​ ៨-លោក​ គង់ ប៊ុន​ហ៑ាង​ អតីតសមាជិកប្រតិបត្តិខេត្ត​ ៩-លោក​ ថោង សារឿន អតីតប្រធានប្រតិបត្តិបក្សស្រុកគាស់ក្រឡ​ ១០-លោកក​ ឌឹម សារឿន​ អតីតសមាជិកក្រុមប្រឹក្សាខេត្ត ១១-លោក​ ខាន់ ប៊ុន​ផេង​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់ព្រែកព្រះស្តេច​ ១២-លោក​​ ពួក លីហាក់​ អតីតសមាជិកក្រុមប្រឹក្សា
ខេត្ត​ ១៣-លោក​ តន់​ សាម៉ន​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់វត្តគរ​ ១៤-លោក​ ហម​ អ៊ាប​ អតីតក្រុមប្រឹក្សាស្រុកសង្កែ​ ១៥-លោក​ យួម​ ដូង​ អតីតក្រុមប្រឹក្សាក្រុងបាត់ដំបង​ ១៦-លោក​ វី​ វ័ន្ត​ អតីតក្រុមប្រឹក្សាស្រុកសង្កែ​ ១៧-លោក​ សាំង​ ប៊ុន​ម៉ៅ​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់រងទី១​ សង្កាត់​ស្វាយប៉ោ​ ១៨-លោក​ ស៊ុន​ ចំរេីន​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់ពាមឯក​ លោក​ សុខ​ សុភក្ដិ​ ជំទប់ទី១​ ឃុំព្រែកនរិន្ទ​ លោក​ ភឿក​ ឡំ​ អតីតចៅសង្កាត់សំរោងក្នុង៕
ក្រុងម៉ុងរ៉េអាល់​ ថ្ងៃ​ទី​០៣​ ខែ​ឧសភា​ ឆ្នាំ​២០១៩ – ពីអតីតសមាជិកព្រឹទ្ធសភាសោ ចាន់ដេត
Courtesy: Phnom Penh Post
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Toby Leung’s Charity Work Improves Lives of Child Sex Trafficking Victims

យោងតាមអត្ថបទនេះ ការជួញដូរមនុស្សនិងការលក់ក្មេងស្រីទៅបំរើពេស្យាចារគឺមានស្អេកស្អៈនៅប្រទេសខ្មែរ។ ក្នុងរបាយការណ៌នេះ ក្នុងមួយឆ្នាំអង្គការAIMរំដោះក្មេងបាន១៦០០នាក់ អាយុរវាង៨ទៅ១៨ឆ្នាំ។ មានក្មេងស្រីអាយុ១៤ឆ្នាំត្រូវបានជួយសង្គ្រោះ តែជាអកុសលមុនការសង្គ្រោះ២២ថ្ងៃ ក្មេងស្រីម្នាក់នេះត្រូវបានគេរំលោភផ្លូវភេទដោយមនុស្ស១៨៩នាក់។ ដែលគួរអោយរន្ធត់បំផុតគឺព្រោះតែភាពក្រីក្រ កូនស្រីអាយុ២ឆ្នាំក៏ត្រូវបានម្តាយលក់ទៅអោយមេបនដែរ។ រឿងនេះ ធ្វើអោយយើងនឹកដល់លោករ៉ាត់ រត្នមុនី ដែលគ្រាន់តែថៃបកអោយទូរទស្សន៌រុស្សុីថតរឿងការលក់កូនស្រីធ្វើពេស្យាចារ ត្រូវបានតុលាការដាក់ឃុំឃាំងបន្សល់ទុកអោយភរិយានិងកូនតូចរស់នៅកណ្តោចកណ្តែង។ នេះជាបទរំលោភសិទ្ធិមនុស្សធ្ងន់ធ្ងរដោយតុលាការអសមត្ថភាពមួយនេះ។ រដ្ឋាភិបាលហាក់ដូចជាជំនាញខាងមិនទទួលស្គាល់សេចក្តីពិតដើម្បីដោះស្រាយបញ្ហាពិត ដោយប្រើប្រាស់តុលាការដើម្បីការពារមុខមាត់ខាងក្រៅក្នុងន័យប្រជាភិថុតិប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្លួនឯង។ សូមតុលាការពិចារណាដោះលែងលោករ៉ាត់ រត្នមុនីជាបន្ទាន់ដើម្បីទទួលស្គាល់ការពិតនៃជំងឺសង្គមមួយនេះនិងរួមគ្នាដោះស្រាយបញ្ហាដោយសុទ្ធិចិត្តទាំងអស់គ្នា។

Toby Leung’s Charity Work Improves Lives of Child Sex Trafficking Victims

By hailey on May 1, 2019 in NEWS Op-Ed: Jayne Star

Toby Leung’s Charity Work Improves Lives of Child Sex Trafficking Victims
Cambodian young prostitution outraged 1
Cambodian young prostitution outraged 2

Cambodian young prostitution outraged 3

Cambodian young prostitution outraged 4

Cambodian young prostitution outraged 5

At the end of April,Toby Leung (梁靖琪) and a group of successful businesswomen in Hong Kong set off to Cambodia as volunteers to support the Agape International Missions (AIM). The charitable organization hopes to help child sex trafficking victims by creating safe housing and teaching survival skills. Toby hopes to rebuild the girls’ confidence and give them a new chance in life.

Last November, Toby first spoke about her visit to Cambodia to help child sex trafficking victims. Her accounts that girls as young as two years old were sold into prostitution by their own parents shocked many, but also raised awareness in how people can help.

“The plane ride from Hong Kong is only two hours, but it’s a completely different world [in Cambodia]. The rescued girls are all very pure and innocent; a little toy can make them really happy. It is hard to believe that they had experienced such trauma. Due to poverty, some two year-old girls are sold into prostitution, losing their childhood innocence at such a young age,” Toby said.

The 36-year-old actress is a big supporter of AIM because they rescue approximately 1,600 young girls from the ages of 8 to 18 every year. Aside from Toby, many other successful women joined the mission, including a member of the Hong Kong Bar Association, a jewelry brand owner, and an event planner.

Realizing the impact their efforts leave, female volunteers usually return to Cambodia for multiple missions. One of the volunteers recounted a story where a 14-year-old girl was sold, and was eventually rescued. Unfortunately, during the 22 days of waiting for help, 198 people raped her. This story always brings tears to her eyes. Another volunteer shared the story of an 8-year-old survivor who was eventually adopted in the United States and later started her own business as an adult. She now joins these types of missions to help other unfortunate young girls.

Continue reading “Toby Leung’s Charity Work Improves Lives of Child Sex Trafficking Victims”
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