Petition to the Secretary General of the United Nations

His Excellency António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations;

We, the undersigned, request your urgent intervention for the safe repatriation of Sam Rainsy, Acting President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and his colleagues to Cambodia on November 9, 2019.

Just a month ahead, the violent rhetoric from Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia is ominous: shelling heavy weapons, dispatching troops along the border, and shooting Rainsy’s airplane etc. Over 250 CNRP’s activist members are either accused by the court or extrajudicially detained by authorities. Kem Sokha, President of the CNRP, has been in detention two years (the first year in jail; the second year under “house arrest”), the CNRP was dissolved by order of the court prior to the general election in 2018. Hun Sen stole the seats of Member of Parliament and Commune Councillors whom people voted for them, and banned 108 Cambodian citizen from involvement in politics.

These actions are unconstitutional and violating the Paris Peace Agreement of 1991 as well as international covenant on civil and political rights Cambodia has ratified.

With Paris Peace Agreement and the mandates of the United Nations, we ask that your excellency intervene to prevent a deadly confrontation from November 9, 2019 onward.

[Please click this link change.org to sign the petition.]

ឯកឧត្ដមអានតូនីយូ ហ្គូតតើរែស(António Guterres) អគ្គលេខាធិការអង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ៖

យើងខ្ញុំដែលបានចុះហត្ថលេខាខាងក្រោម សូមស្នើសុំអន្តរាគមន៍ពីឯកឧត្ដមជាបន្ទាន់សម្រាប់ការធ្វើមាតុភូមិនិវត្តន៍របស់លោកសមរង្ស៊ី ប្រធានស្តីទីគណបក្សសង្រ្គោះជាតិនិងសហការីរបស់គាត់មកកាន់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាវិញនៅថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែវិច្ឆិកាឆ្នាំ២០១៩ នេះ។

នៅសល់តែមួយខែទៀតទេ វោហារស័ព្ទដ៏ឃោរឃៅពីលោកនាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តីហ៊ុនសែននៃប្រទេសកម្ពុជាប្រកដោយហឹង្សាធ្ងន់ធ្ងរគឺមានការបញ្ជាអោយបាញ់ផ្លោងអាវុធធ្ងន់ៗ បញ្ជូនកងទ័ពទៅត្រៀមចាំតាមច្រកព្រំដែន និងការបាញ់យន្តហោះដែលដឹកលោកសមរង្ស៊ី។ សកម្មជនគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិជាង២៥០នាក់ត្រូវបានតុលាការចោទប្រកាន់ឬឃុំខ្លួនក្រៅប្រព័ន្ធច្បាប់ដោយអាជ្ញាធរ។ លោកកឹមសុខា ប្រធានគណបក្សសង្រ្គោះជាតិបានជាប់ឃុំ២ឆ្នាំ (ឆ្នាំទី១ ជាប់ពន្ធនាគារ ឆ្នាំទី២ក្រោម“ការឃុំខ្លួនក្នុងផ្ទះ”) គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិត្រូវបានរំលាយតាមដីការបស់តុលាការមុនការបោះឆ្នោតសកលឆ្នាំ២០១៨ ។ លួចយកអាសនៈរបស់សមាជិកសភានិងសមាជិកក្រុមប្រឹក្សាឃុំ-សង្កាត់ដែលប្រជាជនបានបោះឆ្នោតអោយពួកគេ និងហាមឃាត់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរចំនួន ១០៨នាក់មិនអោយចូលរួមក្នុងជីវភាពនយោបាយ។

សកម្មភាពទាំងនេះគឺមិនស្របនឹងរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញនិងរំលោភលើកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីសឆ្នាំ១៩៩១ ក៏ដូចជាកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងអន្តរជាតិស្តីពីសិទ្ធិពលរដ្ឋនិងសិទ្ធិនយោបាយដែលប្រទេសកម្ពុជាបានផ្តល់សច្ចាប័ន។

ដោយមានកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីសនិងអាជ្ញាសិទ្ធិរបស់អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិយើងខ្ញុំទាំងអស់គ្នាសូមស្នើសុំអោយឯកឧត្តមជួយអន្តរាគមន៍ទប់ស្កាត់ការប្រឈមមុខដាក់គ្នាស្លាប់រស់ចាប់ពីថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែវិច្ឆិកាឆ្នាំ ២០១៩ តទៅ។

[សូមមេត្តាចុច change.org ដើម្បីគាំទ្រញត្តិ]



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លោកសម-រង្ស៊ីធ្វើអោយពិភពលោកផ្អើលម្តងទៀត៩វិច្ឆិកា២០១៩

យើងទាំងអស់គ្នានៅចាំបានកាលពីមាតុភូមិនិវត្សន៍របស់លោកសម-រង្ស៊ីកាលពីថ្ងៃទី១៩ ខែកក្កដា ឆ្នាំ២០១៣ ដែលនៅពេលនោះមានប្រជាពលរដ្ឋច្រើនដល់លាននាក់នៅទីក្រុងភ្នំពេញជាពិសេសក្នុងចំណោមយុវជន-យុវតីបានចេញមកទទួលនិងហែរហមគាត់ពីព្រលានយន្តហោះទៅដល់ទីស្នាក់ការគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ។ អ្នកតាមដានស្ថានការណ៍សង្កេតឃើញថាប្រជាប្រីយភាពដ៏លើសលប់របស់លោកនៅពេលនោះគឺមកពីលោកជាអ្នកនយោបាយឈរលើសច្ចភាពទៀងត្រង់ក្នុងការនាំមកនូវលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យពិតប្រាកដជូនដល់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ។ ហើយអ្វីដែលធ្វើអោយមនុស្សម្នារអ្នកគាំទ្រដ៏ច្រើនលើសលប់ចេញមកទទួលនៅពេលនោះគឺបណ្តាលមករដ្ឋាភិបាលក្រោមការដឹកនាំរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែនបានតាមបៀតបៀនដល់លោកសម-រង្ស៊ីមិនចេះចប់មិនចេះហើយជាពិសេសមានដីកាតុលាការរាប់មិនអស់ដែលតុលាការកម្ពុជាមានឈ្មោះអាក្រក់ខាងកាត់ក្តីគ្មានយុត្តិធម៌។ ក្នុងចំណោមដីកាតុលាការទាំងនោះ ការចោទប្រកាន់ទៅលើលោកសម-រង្ស៊ីរឿងដកបង្គោលព្រំដែននិងបំផ្លាញមិត្តភាពរបស់រដ្ឋាភិបាលកម្ពុជាជាមួយវៀតណាមគឺជារលកដំបូងនាំទៅរករលកស៊ូណាមីនាពេលនោះ។

លោកសម-រង្ស៊ីប្រកាសដកតែហ៊ុន-សែនចេញទេ ចំណែកមេដឹកនាំសំខាន់ៗដូចជាស-ខេង និងសាយ-ឈុំគឺលោកអាចធ្វើការជាមួយបាន។

ព្រឹត្តការណ៍៩វិច្ឆិកា២០១៩ខាងមុខនេះ មានភាពឡូសុិក(logic)ជាងឆ្នាំ២០១៣ទៅទៀត។ ការលាលែងពីតំណែងជាប្រធានបក្សរបស់លោកសម-រង្សុី ត្រូវបានគេមើលឃើញថាជាទង្វើគំរូប្រកបដោយការលៈបង់ខ្ពស់របស់លោកក្នុងការរក្សាគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិអោយមានដំណើរការជាប្រក្រតីភាព។ ប៉ុន្តែការចាប់ចងលោកកឹម-សុខា ដែលជាប្រធានបក្សបន្តវេន រួចរំលាយគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិទាំងមិនទាន់បានរកកំហុសនិងកាត់ទោសលោកកឹម-សុខាផងនោះរឹតតែធ្វើអោយសមាជិកបក្សដែលបោះឆ្នោតអោយជាង៣លាននាក់នៅមិនអស់ចិត្តសោះ។

ការវិលត្រឡប់មកវិញរបស់លោកសម-រង្សុីក្នុងនាមជាប្រធានស្តីទីរបស់គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិនិងដំណើរវិវឌ្ឍន៍ទៅមាតុប្រទេសវិញដើម្បីស្រោចស្រង់គណបក្សមួយនេះ ជារឿងមួយធ្វើអោយអ្នកគាំទ្របក្សនេះពាក់កណ្តាលប្រទេសមានភាពថប់ដង្ហើមមិនអាចលាក់ខ្លួនបំពួនអាត្មាក្នុងការមិនចេញមកទទួលលោកសម-រង្សុីដោយអហឹង្សាបានឡើយ។

ប្រាក់រៀលក្រដាស១៥០០០ថ្មីដែលមានរូបឆាយាលក្ខណ៍នរោត្តមសីហមុនីនិងស្តូបឈ្នះឈ្នះស្តាយសិល្បៈយួនដែលកំពុងទទួលការរិៈគន់ពីមហាជនយ៉ាងដំណំ

ចំណែកលោកហ៊ុន-សែនវិញ អ្នកតាមដានស្ថានការណ៍សង្កេតឃើញថា ដើរខុសច្រើនអន្លើរដោយសារតែអំនួតនិងមោហៈបាំងលុះដោយការស្រេកឃ្លានអំណាចគ្មានទីបញ្ចប់។ ជំនួសអោយការទទួលស្គាល់ការពិតពីការថយចុះយ៉ាងគំហុកនៃប្រជាប្រីយភាពក្រោមការដឹកនាំរបស់ខ្លួនជាង៣០ឆ្នាំ រួចប្រកាសខ្លួនចូលរឺត្រែតក្លាយខ្លួនជារដ្ឋបុរស(statesman)ម្នាក់ ហ៊ុនសែនបែរប្រើល្បិចពិសពុលប្រកាសសត្រូវជាមួយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្លួនជិតពាក់កណ្តាលនគរដែលបោះឆ្នោតអោយគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិដោយចាប់មេដឹកនាំពួកគេដាក់ឃុំឃាំងក្នុងបទចោទក្លែងក្លាយ រំលាយគណបក្សមួយនេះមានបទចោទដោយសាលដីកាតុលាការកំពូលដោយគ្មានមូលដ្ឋានច្បាប់ពិតប្រាកដនិងបិទផ្លូវតវ៉ា ដកកៅអីតំណាងរាស្ត្រទាំង៥៥ចេញព្រមទាំងក្រុមប្រឹក្សាឃុំ-សង្កាត់ទាំង៥០០៧នាក់ដែលប្រជាជនពលរដ្ឋបោះឆ្នោតអោយ យកមកអោយមនុស្សដែលមានស្វាមីភក្តិជាមួយខ្លួនវិញ។

មិនមែនគ្រាន់តែរំលោភទៅលើរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញ រំលោភអំណាច និងប្រកាសជាសត្រូវជាមួយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្លួនឯងប៉ុណ្ណោះទេ ហ៊ុន-សែនហ៊ានធ្វើសម្បទានគ្រប់បែបយ៉ាងនៅពេលខ្លួនកំពុងមានអំណាចដូចជាសម្បទានល្អជាអាក្រក់ដោយការពារនិងតំឡើងបុណ្យសក្កិពួកជនទុច្ចរិត-ឃាតករ-ចោរជាដើម សម្បទានអោយចិនអាចប្រើប្រាស់ដីខ្មែរបានយ៉ាងសេរី និងសម្បទាយួនរឿងបោះបង្គោលព្រំដែនជាដើម។ល។និង។ល។ ហ៊ុន-សែនហ៊ានសម្បទានគ្រប់បែបយ៉ាងអោយជននិងប្រទេសណាដែលហ៊ានជួយការពារអំណាចគាត់កំឡុងពេលផុយស្រួយនៃអំណាចខ្លួនសព្វថ្ងៃនេះ។

លោកសម-រង្ស៊ីអោនថើបព្រះធរណីកម្ពុជាក្នុងកំឡុងមានមនុស្សច្រើនដល់លាននាក់មកទទួលលោកនៅព្រលានយន្តហោះនៅថ្ងៃទី១៩ កក្កដា ២០១៣។

លទ្ធផលពីនយោបាយហក់ចូលក្នុងឆ្នាំងដំាទឹកពុះរបស់ហ៊ុន-សែននាពេលនេះគឺ លោកសម-រង្ស៊ីប្រកាសប្រើអំណាចប្រជាជន(people power)និងកៀរគរអ្នកស្នេហាជាតិពិតប្រាកដក្នុងជួរគណបក្សប្រជាជនដែលកំពុងមិនពេញចិត្តលោកហ៊ុន-សែនស្រាប់ ក៏ដូចជាចូលទៅរំដោះព្រះមហាក្សត្រពីការគាបសង្កត់ពីហ៊ុន-សែន រំដោះកម្ពុជាពីចិន-យួន ការពារអ៊ីប៊ីអេ(EBA)និងជីអេសស្ទី(GST) និងស្តារនីតិរដ្ឋក៏ដូចជាលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យឡើងវិញស្របតាមរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញនិងកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីស។ មកដល់ថ្ងៃនេះ ក្រោមសំពាធពីប្រជាពលរដ្ឋពេញនគរ អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិនិងពិភពលោកទាំងមូល ចិន-យួនអាចដោះដៃចេញពីហ៊ុន-សែន នៅពេលពួកគេបានទទួលសម្បទានពីហ៊ុន-សែនរួចរាល់ ហើយមិនចង់ប្រឈមជាមួយកំឡាំងប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនិងពិភពលោកទាំងមូល។

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A new ‘Trump Doctrine’ could start with Cambodia

This is not a paper “war game.” America’s military has already considered this hypothetical, and has bombed its enemies on Cambodian soil once before. This time the objective would be to remove China’s military from Southeast Asia, and more broadly the Indo-Pacific, which includes the South China Sea. A collateral effect of bombing Cambodia could be changes in power which non-violent measures, like sanctions, could not effect. America would “kill two birds with one stone.”

នេះមិនមែនជាសំណេរហ្គេមសង្រ្គាមទេ។ ទ័ពអាមេរិកធ្លាប់ពិចារណាលើការសន្និដ្ឋាននេះ ហើយបានទំលាក់គ្រាប់បែកទៅលើសត្រូវរបស់ខ្លួននៅលើទឹកដីកម្ពុជាម្តងពីមុន។ ពេលនេះ គោលបំណងគឺដើម្បីរំលាយទ័ពចិនចេញពីតំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៌ ដែលរួមបច្ចូលទាំងមហាសមុទ្រចិនខាងត្បូង។ ផលពីទង្វើនៃការទំលាក់គ្រាប់បែកលើទឹកដីកម្ពុជាអាចធ្វើអោយមានការផ្លាស់ប្តូរប៉ូលអំណាច នៅពេលដែលវិធានការអហឹង្សានានាដូចជាការដាក់ទណ្ឌកម្មគ្មានប្រសិទ្ធិភាព។ អាមេរិកនឹងសំឡាប់បានសត្វពីរព្រួញមួយពេលនេះ។

A new ‘Trump Doctrine’ could start with Cambodia

Christopher Beres

Op-Ed: Asia Time, By CHRISTOPHER BERES

Picture this: Somewhere in the South China Sea, which China claims as its own, a Chinese warship confronts a Philippine warship or, maybe it’s vice versa, and shots are exchanged. It doesn’t matter which warship fired first. The fight is on and the Philippines’ warship is soon joined by American warships that come to the aid of their treaty ally. China marshals its resources, calling more of its warships to join the fight.

China’s military, which has clandestine facilities in Cambodia, ostensibly for the “repair and maintenance of its warships and jet fighters,” is ready to perform its support functions. The Chinese have prepared for this eventuality, but so too have the Americans. Rather than bomb mainland China, which could escalate the territorial dispute into a world war, America bombs China’s military facilities in Cambodia and, while at the task, bombs Cambodia’s military facilities as well. After all, Cambodia is not merely China’s friend, it’s China’s military ally.

This is not a paper “war game.” America’s military has already considered this hypothetical, and has bombed its enemies on Cambodian soil once before. This time the objective would be to remove China’s military from Southeast Asia, and more broadly the Indo-Pacific, which includes the South China Sea. A collateral effect of bombing Cambodia could be changes in power which non-violent measures, like sanctions, could not effect. America would “kill two birds with one stone.”

Reality is also fraught with peril. The US is engaged in a cold war with China. China is militarizing the South China Sea. Cambodia supports China’s claims to the South China Sea. The US believes Cambodia will permit China to position troops on its territory. China provides Cambodia with nearly all of its military assistance and small arms. Cambodia has had little choice but to engage China because of the historical threat and domestically unpopular land grabs from Vietnam to its east. The Philippines’ admiralty would also like to drag the US into a fight with China. America views China as a threat to the post-World War II status quo in Asia in which the US has heretofore been pre-eminent.

And while the Cambodian government has many US-educated leaders who could be pro-US, America has not played this card to improve its relationship with Cambodia, apparently having embarked on a course of non-violent measures to punish Cambodia.

Cambodia has been unfairly subject to a punitive US foreign policy for a long time. However, America’s policy could become more interventionist in order to counter China’s possible militarization of Cambodia

Cambodia has been unfairly subject to a punitive US foreign policy for a long time. However, America’s policy could become more interventionist in order to counter China’s possible militarization of Cambodia.

The US should engage with Cambodia as an ally, do business with it, and try to influence its actions with respect to China. The carrot is better than a stick that has not worked.

The US Congress’ current policy seeks to sanction Cambodia’s leaders, to deny Cambodia access to loans from international financial institutions, to withdraw Cambodia’s trade preferences, and to elevate a defunct opposition party to the status of the legitimate government of Cambodia. President Donald Trump has appointed a new ambassador to Cambodia whose self-professed mission is to promote democracy and human rights and work with Congress to punish Cambodia. In this context, America is in effect not willing to work with the long-standing de jure government in Phnom Penh.

Unfortunately, the United States’ experience with China over the last 30 years since Deng Xiaoping’s gaige kaifang (the “Four Modernizations”) has been that  over time with economic development China has not become more open but more closed and militaristic. Cambodia is open and democratic and needs friendship from a democratic partner in the West.

America’s real objective in Cambodia is not a secret and has nothing to do with freeing Kem Sokha or reviving the Cambodia National Rescue Party; rather, it is to contain China to protect America’s legitimate national-security interests. Certainly, Cambodia also has its own national-security interests to protect vis-a-vis China.

It is in both America’s and Cambodia’s best interest to negotiate a deal to contain China.

As a gesture of goodwill, the US might consider forgiving Cambodia’s war debt, which totals around US$500 million, in the amount of $50 million for every year over the next 10 years. The cost to America’s national security should China gain a military foothold in Cambodia would be much greater than $500 million.

As for Cambodia, it must know that the US is a better strategic ally than China, one that does not have the same “hidden agenda.”

A new “Trump Doctrine” for Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia would enable the US president to apply “the art of the deal” to disrupting the current unsuccessful US policy in the region. The Trump Doctrine would extend the Monroe Doctrine to be “the doctrine of the world” and “upset the applecart” of the failed policies of the past. As with his bipartisan consensus trade policy toward China, the goal would be to end China’s aggression in the region permanently.Asia Times is not responsible for the opinions, facts or any media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Christopher Beres

CHRISTOPHER BERES

Christopher Beres is a lawyer who has represented Cambodia in international litigation. He holds a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

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nullការ​សាងសង់​អាកាស​យាន្ដដ្ឋាន​អន្តរជាតិ​មួយ​ដោយ​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​ចិន​ក្នុង​តំបន់​តារា​សាគរ​បង្កើត​ឱ្យ​មាន​ការ​ព្រួយ​បារម្ភ​

21 កញ្ញា 2019


រូបឯកសារ៖ ការដ្ឋាន​សាង​សង់​ព្រលាន​យន្ត​ហោះ​​ដែល​អភិវឌ្ឍ​ដោយ​ក្រុម​ហ៊ុន Union Development Group នៅ​បទុម​សាគរ ខេត្ត​កោះ​កុង កាល​ពី​ខែ​​ឧសភា ២០១៨។
រូបឯកសារ៖ ការដ្ឋាន​សាង​សង់​ព្រលាន​យន្ត​ហោះ​​ដែល​អភិវឌ្ឍ​ដោយ​ក្រុម​ហ៊ុន Union Development Group នៅ​បទុម​សាគរ ខេត្ត​កោះ​កុង កាល​ពី​ខែ​​ឧសភា ២០១៨។

គោលបំណង​របស់​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​នេះ គឺ​សាងសង់​ទីក្រុង​ដ៏​ធំថ្មី​មួយ​របស់​កម្ពុជា​នៅ​ទីនេះ ដោយ​មាន​ទីក្រុង​លំហែកាយ​ជាប់​ឆ្នេរ​សមុទ្រ សណ្ឋាគារ​ប្រណិតៗ និង​ផ្ទះ​វីឡា សួន​ឧស្សាហ៍កម្ម ស្ថានីយ​ថាមពល រោងចក្រ​ចម្រាញ់​ទឹក​ស្អាត និង​អាគារ​សុខាភិបាល​ជាដើម។ខេត្ត​កោះកុង — 

Continue reading “A new ‘Trump Doctrine’ could start with Cambodia”
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China’s New Naval Base: Cambodia

China’s New Naval Base: Cambodia

by Debalina Ghoshal
August 12, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • “[Scepticism] has grown louder recently, with the release of satellite images from the European Space Agency showing that the runway for the site’s airport is far longer than is required for civilian aircraft” — Andrew Nachemson, Cambodia-based journalist, South China Morning Post, March 5, 2019.
  • “Over the past two years [Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen] has accepted more than $600m (£480m) in loans as part of China’s controversial Belt and Road initiative.” — Hannah Ellis-Petersen, South-east Asia correspondent, The Guardian, July 22, 2019.
  • “It appears that there are massive strings attached to these loans. If Cambodia had said no, do you think China would continue its massive investment in Cambodia?” — Sophal Ear, Cambodian political scientist, to The Guardian, July 22, 2019.
  • Without a change of government in Phnom Penh, brought about by an election that truly reflects public sentiment, China could be given virtually free rein in Cambodia to further its political and military designs on Asia.
A recent Wall Street Journal report claims that China has signed a secret deal with Cambodia that gives the Chinese military access to Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. Washington has expressed worry over Cambodia’s move away from democracy and American influence, and its descent into autocratic rule and towards China’s orbit. Pictured: U.S. Marines and Royal Cambodian Navy sailors participate in the multinational “CARAT Cambodia 2016” exercise near Ream Naval Base, November 2, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Petty Officer Lowell Whitman)

China’s efforts to establish regional hegemony were highlighted recently by a Wall Street Journal report claiming that Beijing signed a secret deal in the spring with Phnom Penh, giving the Chinese armed forces access to Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, “not far from a large airport now being constructed by a Chinese company.”

Although the report was vehemently denied by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who called it “the worst-ever made up news against Cambodia,” Washington has cause to take it seriously. The United States is aware of China’s attempts to strengthen its strategic foothold in Southeast Asia in general and the South China Sea in particular. Washington also has expressed worry over Cambodia’s move away from democracy and American influence, on the one hand, and its descent into autocratic rule and towards China’s orbit on the other.

In spite of Article 1 of its Constitution, which states that “the Kingdom of Cambodia shall be independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned country,” in January, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats— who just resigned his post — assessed that “Cambodia’s slide toward autocracy… opens the way for a constitutional amendment that could lead to a Chinese military presence in the country.”

Meanwhile, both Beijing and Phnom Penh claim that all investment by the Chinese-owned Union Development Group in the Koh Kong province and along the Cambodian coastline — such as an international airport, luxury tourist resorts, casinos and golf courses, among others — are part of a major project for civilian use alone. However, as Cambodia-based journalist Andrew Nachemson reportedin March:

“… scepticism has grown louder recently, with the release of satellite images from the European Space Agency showing that the runway for the site’s airport is far longer than is required for civilian aircraft…

“The satellite images suggest there was a flurry of construction on the runway after US Vice-President Mike Pence delivered a letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in November, expressing concern that the project had a military use.”

In response to the Wall Street Journal report, the U.S. State Department released a statement reminding Cambodia that it had a “constitutional commitment to its people to pursue an independent foreign policy,” and warning that:

“We are concerned that any steps by the Cambodian government to invite a foreign military presence in Cambodia would threaten the coherence and centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in coordinating regional developments, and disturb peace and stability in Southeast Asia.”

As The Guardian reported in July:

“Over the past two years [Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen] has accepted more than $600m (£480m) in loans as part of China’s controversial Belt and Road initiative. China has also committed almost $2bn to build roads and bridges across Cambodia, with further infrastructure and multimillion-dollar business deals in the works, and given another $150m in aid.”

Sophal Ear, a “prominent Cambodian political scientist,” told The Guardian:

“It appears that there are massive strings attached to these loans. If Cambodia had said no, do you think China would continue its massive investment in Cambodia?”

Continue reading “China’s New Naval Base: Cambodia”
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