Hun Sen takes China to neutralize EBA but 40 private sectors in Cambodia pleas

In his facebook page, Hun Sen has appeared fragile walking and standing to greet China’s private sectors and official top leaders in Peking during his 4 days urgent visit (January 20-24, 2019) after EU announced to tax Cambodia rice export in 3 years beginning this January 2019 in which Cambodia enjoyed its free tax previous years. Cambodia could loss 40 millions dollar per year from this taxing. While Hun Sen is departing for China, the regular Cabinet meetings was cancelled with order to send only security documents to his office while Phnom Penh city was seen by tanks, military armours, and his personal body guard unit mobilizing in an excuse to prepare a drill. Spectators convinced that by ranking and bureaucratic regulation, whenever Hun Sen is absent, the next person is Sar Kheng who is able to conduct regular business of the governance but the Cabinet’s order is totally opposite.

Frequent updating in his personal facebook page with “likes” hike up over 10 millions is to describe his successes in 600 millions loan and buying rice 40,000 tones, Chinese FDI investments, and increasing importing products from Cambodia etc., while the mainstream China’s news, contradictory, confirming the Xi’s intention to strengthening Cambodia’s consent to broaden Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and shared future strategic partnership. Note that Cambodia delegates have failed to inspire China to import rice from Cambodia as China has already promised to import Thailand’s trillion tones of rice to feed its people.

In Cambodia, 40 private sectors wrote letter to EU to express their concerns on the economic crisis if EU withdraws EBA from Cambodia. And the ASIA-EU Ministerial Meeting delegated by Cambodia foreign minister Prak Sokhonn met negative responses from both Didier Reynders and Cecilia Malstrom by emphasizing restoring back democracy, rule of law, and human rights respect in Cambodia if EBA’s withdrawal scheme should be halted.

“[I was] in a bilateral interview [conversation] with my Cambodian counterpart in which I stressed the importance of restoring the rule of law and democracy in the country, which would deepen relations with the European Union,” 
Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders wrote.
“We discussed the EBA agreement and the possibility of a withdrawal of the tariff preferences. [We] reiterated our concerns on democracy, human rights and [the] rule of law. The EU continues to keep the path of dialogue open,”
EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom wrote.

Cambodia Faces Next Trade-Sanctions Move by the European Union

Op-Ed: Bloomberg

By Jonathan Stearns January 22, 2019, 8:59 AM PST Updated on January 22, 2019, 3:00 PM PST

  •  EU Commission seeks support from national capitals by Jan. 29
  •  Any decision to suspend tariff benefits still a year away

The European Union moved closer to imposing trade sanctions against Cambodia as a result of alleged human-rights violations in the country.

The European Commission in Brussels has asked EU national governments to give the green light by Jan. 29 for suspending a policy that lets Cambodia export all goods except weapons duty-free and quota-free to the bloc, according to two officials familiar with the matter. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are private.

Any go-ahead from EU national capitals would still leave a decision by the commission, the bloc’s executive arm, 12 months away. At stake is Cambodia’s place in the EU’s “Everything But Arms” initiative, the most generous part of the bloc’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences for poor countries around the world.

The EU’s Tariff Threats Against Asia’s Autocrats Risk Backfiring

The EU is trying to prod changes in the political behavior of strongman Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen while being wary of damaging the country’s economy, where a $5 billion garment industry employs 750,000 people and is the biggest exporter.

Hun Sen, who extended his 33-year rule last July when his party won a boycotted election, has so far struck a defiant tone with the European side.

The latest internal EU preparations to withdraw commercial benefits for Cambodia follow a Jan. 21 meeting between European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn. The Everything But Arms — or EBA — accord featured in the talks.

“We discussed the EBA agreement and the possibility of a withdrawal of the tariff preferences,” Malmstrom said in a Twitter post after the meeting in the Belgian capital. “Reiterated our concerns on democracy, human rights and rule of law. The EU continues to keep the path of dialog open.”

The EU debate over revoking general trade benefits for Cambodia is separate from a decision by the bloc last week to impose tariffs on Cambodian rice for three years as a result of a surge in imports deemed to have hurt European rice producers.

— With assistance by Nikos Chrysoloras

Greater Sino-Cambodian effort sought for Belt, Road

Op-Ed: China Daily

By AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-22 01:28

President Xi Jinping meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the  Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday. Xi said bilateral relations have developed at a high level. PANG XINGLEI / XINHUA

China and Cambodia should speed up connecting the Belt and Road Initiative with Cambodia’s development strategy, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.

Continue reading “Hun Sen takes China to neutralize EBA but 40 private sectors in Cambodia pleas”

Hun Sen’s populism hangs by a thread

Cambodian leader’s election vow of higher minimum wages and seniority payments for garment workers has put new economic pressure on an industry that was already coming undone

ជាសរុប នយោបាយប្រជាភិថុតិរបស់របបហ៊ុន-សែនចំពោះកម្មករ-កម្មការិនីរោងចក្រកាត់ដេរបានកំពុងមានវិបាកកម្មត្រឡប់មករកខ្លួនវិញ ក្នុងខណៈការរំលាយនិងរំលោភលើសិទ្ធិនយោបាយរបស់គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិក៏ជាចំណាប់ខ្មាំងចងខ្លួនលោកហ៊ុន-សែនភ្ជាប់ទៅនឹងសសរកន្លោងផងដែរ។ លោកហ៊ុន-សែនរៀបចំជួបកម្មកររាប់មុឺននាក់តាមរោងចក្រដោយតម្រូវអោយរោងចក្របង់ថ្លៃម៉ោងដែលគេមកចូលរួមស្តាប់លោក ហើយលោកហ៊ុន-សែនមានស្រោមសំបុត្រលុយអោយពួកគេពីដៃផ្ទាល់ផងដែរ។ មិនតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ មានការតំឡើងប្រាក់ខែអតិបរមាពី១៧០ដុល្លាមួយខែកាលពីឆ្នាំមុនមក១៨២ដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែដើមឆ្នាំនេះ បង្កើតច្បាប់បង់ប្រាក់អតីតភាព(severance pay)ដល់កម្មករបើមានការបណ្តេញពីការងារ បង់ប្រាក់បុព្វលាភនិងប្រាក់បំណាច់(seniority bonuses and indemnities) ព្រមទាំងផលប្រយោជន៌(benefits)ផ្សេងទៀត ដោយបើកប្រាក់ខែដូរពីបួនអាទិត្យ(មួយខែ)ម្តងទៅជាពីរអាទិត្យម្តង។ ជាការសំគាល់ រោងចក្រមួយចំនួនបានបិទទ្វារ អត្រានាំចេញឆ្នាំ២០១៨មានត្រឹម៤ភាគរយ ចុះមកពី១៩ភាគរយ ហើយអុឺរ៉ុបបានចាប់ផ្តើមយកពន្ធអង្ករកម្ពុជា និងរៀបចំនីតិវិធីដកEBA។

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) weaves as his wife Bun Rany (top R) looks on during an opening ceremony for the Khmer New Year at Bayon temple at the Angkor complex in Siem Reap province on April 13, 2018. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy

Op-Ed: Asia Time

That approach bore fruit, despite widespread and persistent criticism of official corruption and limited labor rights. Cambodia’s embrace of free market policies catapulted the economy in the 2000s, growth rates that underwrote the CPP’s staying power.

Cambodia’s largest export industr
y is facing its biggest crisis, with garment workers and security

But, according to Chanco, the “broad thrust of the [the CPP’s] policies have been populist – and in many cases, interventionist – in nature” since the 2013 general election, when it was nearly beaten by the opposition CNRP. At the time, the opposition had campaigned on a manifesto of higher wages and other populist measures.

The minimum wage of garment workers remained largely static up until 2013, but the CPP has “co-opted the CNRP’s minimum wage agenda over the last five years,” says Chanco.

In a speech before more than 4,000 workers on Sunday, August 20, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen announced that from January 2018, the company owners are to take responsibility to pay 100% of healthcare services, and from 2019 onward, workers will receive retirement benefits as civil servants. Samdech Techo HUN SEN says the owners’ responsibility for paying healthcare costs to the workers would save the healthcare costs at least 8,000 to 12,000 riel, with calling for and encouraging workers to work better. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Sunday announced before 4,270 workers at the center that by 2018, the minimum wage of garment and footwear workers in Cambodia will not be less than $ 160.

The CPP arguably felt the need to expand even further its populist pledges after it dissolved the CNRP in November 2017 and in the run-up to last July’s general election, which it won overwhelmingly in a poll many observers viewed as a sham.

As the CPP promised on the hustings, the monthly minimum wage for garment factory workers rose on January 1 to US$182, up from $170 last year. That marks a near 300% increase from the $61 minimum wage earned by workers in 2012.

One independent estimate suggests that the latest minimum wage hike will cost garment sector employers an additional $90 million in wages and bonuses this year.

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) poses for a picture during a ceremony at a compound of factories in Phnom Penh on September 6, 2017. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy

Hun Sen poses for a picture during a ceremony at a compound of factories in Phnom Penh on September 6, 2017. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy

Added to this, thanks to CPP promises made last year, employers must now pay workers fortnightly, not monthly, a logistical headache which will also raise administrative and financial costs.

“It’s absolutely the case that Cambodia’s minimum wage has increased too fast over the past few years,” says Chanco.

He says wages have been hiked while labor productivity has remained stagnant and in places even fallen in recent years. At the same time, the price of Cambodia’s garment products has also fallen on international markets without improvements in quality.

Now at $182 per month, Cambodia’s minimum wage for garment workers is only a few dollars less than wages in Vietnam and is considerably higher than the average wages paid in Bangladesh.

Vietnam, which exported $35 billion worth of garment products last year, considerably more than Cambodia, also has far better industrial and logistical infrastructure and boasts overall higher productivity rates, analysts say.

That’s reflected in the cost of power, with electricity rates in Cambodia almost $0.20 per kilowatt-hour, while in Vietnam they are about $0.07.

The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index ranked Cambodia 98 out of 160 global countries. Vietnam was ranked 39, Thailand 32 and Indonesia 46.

The Cambodian government will spend considerably more of its budget in 2019, which increased by 11% from last year, on infrastructure, public works, urban development and vocational training. Investment from China, its main ally, will also bolster Cambodia’s infrastructure.

But there are rising concerns that this may be too little, too late, as Cambodia’s manufacturing rivals, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Myanmar, are also investing heavily in their own manufacturing capabilities.

Supporters of Cambodian People's Party (CPP) parade in an open truck during the first day of campaign in Phnom Penh for the general election on July 7, 2018.Cambodian political parties on Saturday kicked off a three-week-long campaign for a controversial general election later this month, which strongman Hun Sen is poised to sweep after the main opposition were disbanded and their senior members driven into self-exile. / AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN Sothy

Cambodian People’s Party supporters in an open truck during campaigning in Phnom Penh for the July 7, 2018, general election. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy

Politics are also hurting Cambodia’s competitiveness. The EU is now weighing whether to withdraw Cambodia from its Everything But Arms scheme, which grants Cambodian exports duty-free status.

Cambodia exported roughly $5.8 billion worth of goods to the EU in 2017 under the scheme. The loss of that access is already prompting some investors and purchasers of Cambodia-made goods to move to other, more competitive markets, according to industry reports.

In December, the Ministry of Commerce reported that exports grew by just 4% in 2018, worth $11.2 billion, compared to 19% growth the previous year. Under a new government edict introduced by the government last September and which came into effect on January 1, factory owners now must also make new payments for seniority to employees.

Intended to replace severance pay, in which owners had to pay workers if they were laid off, the new seniority bonus equates to the wages of 15 days’ work and other benefits, and must be paid annually, half in June and the other half in December.

In December, thousands of garment workers went on strike because they wanted seniority payments to be made in one lump-sum rather than two payments made each year, as the law stipulates.

Garment workers who spoke to Asia Times on the condition of anonymity said they are fearful that their employers could try to change their contracts to cancel out their back pay, or could abscond from the country without paying their bonuses.

There are also fears that after factory owners make the first tranche of seniority payments in June, they will face cash-flow problems, meaning they could close down before the second set of payments are made in December.

Workers gather as they rally to mark May Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring

Workers gather as they rally to mark May Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring

Following the recent unrest, some 1,200 workers were sacked by garment factories in the capital because of their “illegal” strikes, a move supported by local courts.

Some analysts, however, argue that the strikes were merely an excuse for garment factory employers to slim down their workforce in anticipation of falling shipments and profits.

“These new policies, especially the seniority payment, are being blamed for layoffs in the garment sector,” said Sophal Ear, associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College at Los Angeles.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), an industry body, “is justifying manufacturer layoffs of employees but disregarding who is to blame: not the employees, but the government for coming up with these policies,” he added.

“So why isn’t the government stopping these layoffs? Because it can’t. It launched a policy to get garment workers’ love, but then manufacturers get around it by laying off workers.”

There is not a reliable estimate of how much the seniority payments will cost employers. But it is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars, especially considering that payments could be backdated for almost 10 years, while some liberal guesses put the total figure close to $100 million.

Continue reading on full article in Asia Time…

Are China’s gifts a blessing or a curse for Cambodia?

Are China’s gifts a blessing or a curse for Cambodia?

Author: Pheakdey Heng, Enrich Institute


The entrance to Kratie University flanked with Chinese and Cambodian flags in a photo posted on Facebook last week.
The entrance to Kratie University flanked with Chinese and Cambodian flags in a photo posted on Facebook last week.

China’s growing dominance is met with equally growing concern in Cambodia. Despite the economic gains, too much dependence on China comes with significant commitment and risk. Reliance on China’s aid may induce Cambodia to fall into a debt trap, resulting in a loss of autonomy as a sovereign state and the deterioration of its relations with other ASEAN member states.

The lack of transparency and accountability of China’s projects is also causing social and environmental challenges in Cambodia. Criticism that Chinese companies are racing to exploit Cambodia’s resources while paying little regard to international best development practices are common among civil society actors.

The Kamchay dam, the first large-scale Chinese investment project in Cambodia, is a telling example. The dam destroyed 2000 hectares of productive forest, threatened animal species, lowered water quality and negatively affected the livelihood of local communities.

Chinese firm Union Development was awarded a concession of nearly 40,000 hectares — almost four times the amount allowed under Cambodian law — to develop a multi-billion dollar tourism hub in Cambodia’s Koh Kong province. Human rights groups allege that fishermen who had lived in the area for generations were summarily evicted, taken inland and told that they were now farmers.

Chinese investment in Cambodia’s real estate market is almost exclusively aimed at the Cambodian upper class, as well as Chinese tourists and businessmen. This is driving market prices up, making housing unaffordable for most Cambodians.

Chinese investment is also transforming Sihanoukville, once Cambodia’s premier seaside resort, into a bustling casino town. The unprecedented surge in Chinese tourists and casino development in Sihanoukville is benefitting a small group Cambodia’s rich elite, but many other Cambodians are being driven out of the area by the skyrocketing cost of living.

Even though Chinese investment is bringing wealth to Cambodia, this wealth is mainly kept within Cambodia’s Chinese community. Chinese residents and visitors in Cambodia buy from Chinese businesses, eat in Chinese restaurants and stay in Chinese hotels. The trickle-down effect to local businesses is minimal.

China’s economic power and influence can be a source for sustainable development in Cambodia, but for this to happen requires strong leadership from both countries. Both sides must make concerted efforts to promote transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in development projects.

Shared responsibility and multi-stakeholder partnership should be the guiding principles of foreign investment in Cambodia to ensure that Chinese investment and aid contributes to Cambodia’s economic, social and environmental progress in the long run.

Read the entire article at AsiaForum

Cambodian leadership between US and China

Dr. Lao Mong HayWhile the Vietnamese government celebrated the 40th anniversary of Vietnamese unification between North and South on this April 30, 2015, Vietnamese leaders have eloquently contained the scheme that US has separated Vietnam; those Vietnamese leaders frequently termed American as  imperialist, or American hegemony during the post cold-war. This statement coincided with the prediction that Vietnam and China shall have no space to be doubtful on their diplomacy tie dis-aligned. Historically, China is the essential partner to help Vietnam unified. And another indisputable history is the Cambodia that opened space such as Ho Chi Minh trail to help Vietnam achieve their unification goal. But what Cambodian people are wishing to see their government’s uncontested role is to encourage Vietnamese government to say “thank you” to Cambodia for their unification at the same level that present Cambodian government leadership that has always said “thank you” to Vietnam that help Cambodia to stop Khmer Rouge brutality.

angkor sangrkan controversyAccording to political ideology, peace and war history, and economic cooperation etc. Vietnam cannot distance themselves from China at all. China and Vietnam have pursued political ideology of communism and neo-Marxist capitalism. Vietnam and China fought hand to hand against Nazism and Japanese militarism; recently Vietnam and China traveled to Russia to join the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War or WWII, and the economic cooperation especially the TPP project that Vietnam shall benefit a lot from it.

Above few findings can conclude that the Cambodia-Vietnam relations is remained strong even-though as Chair of ASEAN Cambodia reinforced its relations with China by neglecting Vietnam’s effort to instate multilateral resolution on behalf of ASEAN with China rather than bilateral one regarding the dispute on Spratly island. The assumption has also surprised everyone when Cambodia prime minister Hun Sen visited Vietnam while his leadership has been shaken by Cambodian people in 2013 election. His visiting happened during tension and protests to call him to step down; and he was publicly speaking Vietnamese to his Vietnamese audience regardless of diplomacy code of conduct he must abide by.

Below are some references of above description with their quote and link to the original complete articles and documents.

Phnom Penh cannot afford to be a Chinese proxy [3]. While China is of great economic interest to Cambodia, Vietnam is also vital to Cambodian security given the country’s geographical proximity. Balancing its foreign policy between China and Vietnam (and ASEAN as a whole) would be the wisest option for Cambodia. At the same time, the fiasco of the 2012 ASEAN summit should demonstrate to other ASEAN members the necessity of responding to the security concerns of its smaller members.

Cambodia’s betwixt and between foreign policy


As many will recall, for the first time in its 45-year history, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 2012 failed to issue a joint communiqué [3] because of the failure of the ministers to achieve consensus on a common ASEAN position on issues involved in the South China Sea. The failure took place despite the fact that such a consensus had been worked out in the past and was again expressed in an ASEAN ministerial statement on the South China Sea a few days later. Many pointed to Chinese pressure on Cambodia as the main reason for this undeniable debacle.

The United States and ASEAN


In order to prevent Cambodia from choosing China over the US, Washington first needs to stop creating, and believing in the existence of, two distinct, contending, and mutually exclusive sides. The US should see China and Cambodia as two separate fronts. It should stop adjusting its Cambodia policy according to the level of Chinese engagement. If bilateral standoff is not the desired outcome, then trilateral cooperation is the only solution.

US-China-Cambodia Relations: The trilateral balance


 In 2014, Vietnam ranked 119th out of 175 countries in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perceptions, 126th on the World Bank’s Control of Corruption Index, and 74th on the International Country Risk’s Guide corruption rankings. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s top echelons have repeatedly warned that the country’s wealth widening wealth gap poses the most worrying threat to the survival of the political regime.

How the US continues to impact Vietnam 40 years on


The institute, established in 1999 around 80 km (50 miles) from Phnom Penh, is part of China’s rising military aid to Cambodia. Interviews with serving officers and a senior Cambodian government official shed light on how far the school’s influence has grown in recent years.

Military aid, alongside arms sales and billions of dollars of investment, have strengthened China’s ties with Cambodia, and analysts see it as part of a push to extend regional influence, including in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese influence in Cambodia grows with army school, aid by Reuter


 Cambodia, like neighboring Myanmar and Laos, has been a major beneficiary of Beijing’s push in recent years to cultivate ties with developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. From 2006 to August 2012, Chinese companies invested more than $8.2 billion in Cambodia, besting second-placed South Korea’s $3.8 billion and the $924 million from American companies, according to the Cambodian Investment Board. Since 1992, Beijing has offered Cambodia $2.1 billion in aid and loans to fund agricultural development and the construction of more than 2,000 kilometers of roads and bridges, Chinese and Cambodian officials say.

U.S. Faces China Hurdle in Cambodia


There is no doubt that Cambodia needs China’s assistance to further its economic development. Likewise, China sees Cambodia as an important ally for exercising greater influence in Southeast Asia and counterbalancing the United States. Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue recently said that the positive relationship China and Cambodia have built over the years serves as a role model of friendship between countries of different social systems. He is convinced that, with the careful guidance of its leaders and the efforts of its people, China and Cambodia can further deepen their mutual trust for one another and improve cooperation, so as to develop the relationship to a greater level.

Chinese investment and aid in Cambodia a controversial affair


The China-Russia relationship has been fruitful in the past. During the past two years, their heads of state have met eight times, reaching a series of important consensus on bilateral cooperation in all areas.

During their meeting in May, they are expected to add new content to bilateral ties and break new ground together, showing their relationship has entered a new development phase.

Xinhua: Xi’s visit to deepen, celebrate China-Russia relations


China has always offered instant rewards for displays of loyalty. When the Cambodian government sent 22 Uighur refugees back to China in 2009, the United States once again suspended aid to Cambodia as a retributive measure. China, on the other hand, pledged a total of US$1.2 billion two days after the incident. This generous gesture, however, does not necessarily guarantee that the money is indeed received, as some observers caution.

But looking beyond the ‘big old friend’ rhetoric, what’s in this relationship for China? The strings attached to China’s generosity are undoubtedly strong and many-stranded.

Why China charms Cambodia


The CPP still maintained a tight grip on power, and its leaders were wary of China given the troubling relations of the past. Only after 1997 did Cambodia-China relations began to improve. One possible explanation was that in the aftermath of the deadly clash in July 1997, it was clear that the CPP would be the dominant power in Cambodia’s politics once it had defeated and captured forces loyal to the royalist FUNCINPEC party.

This shifting balance of internal power may have made China realize that it had to revisit its past strategy and engage with the CPP’s leaders if it wanted to reinvigorate its crumbling diplomatic relations with Cambodia. As a result, China quickly emerged as one of Cambodia’s most important donors. More importantly, China’s long-standing policy of non-interference perfectly aligns with the interests of the ruling elites.

Besides financial support, China has also assisted Cambodia in strengthening its security forces, and has given millions of dollars worth of military equipment to its ally. For instance, in 2010, China agreed to give 257 military trucks and 50,000 uniforms to the Cambodian armed forces. In addition, China also provided 1,000 handguns and 50,000 bullets to the national police. These are just a few highlights of the military cooperation between the two countries.

In the aftermath of the July 2013 election, which the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) claims was plagued with massive irregularities, China was among a handful of countries that endorsed the CPP’s victory. During his visit to Cambodia in August 2013, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi promises the ruling elites that “China will firmly support Cambodia to prevent foreign disturbance.

Cambodia-China Relations: Overcoming the Trust Deficit


This is the first time Cambodia‘s leader has openlystated his position on the South China Sea issue.Cambodia has faced criticism for its handling of thematter during a meeting of the ASEAN countries in 2012.  Hun Sen said Cambodia should not be the onlycountry criticized for continued problems in the area.

After Cambodia, Brunei also could not find a solution;Myanmar failed as well. Now I am waiting to see ifMalaysia will be able to solve the problem,” said Hun Sen.

Cambodia Supports China’s Position on South China Sea


The military objective, in the long term, stands to make the greatest contribution to China’s national security. Cambodia sits in a critical geostrategic position, and China has since 1955 demonstrated an almost bewildering desire for access to Cambodia, whether the purpose was to counter US influence, to funnel supplies to North Vietnam and the Viet Cong, or to counter Vietnam. During the height of Sino-Cambodian relations, during the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge regime, PLA engineers supervised the slave-labor construction of an airfield at Kampong Chhnang that was (and is) capable of handling any aircraft in the world. Given that the Khmer Rouge had no air force and that the base included a command center built into a nearby mountain, the facility was clearly intended as a forward base for the PLA air force.

China’s Cambodia Strategy


But in Cambodia, a small band of historians has been clamoring for Beijing to acknowledge its role in one of the worst genocides in recent history.

In the 1970s, Mao wanted a client state in the developing world to match the Cold War influence of the United States and the Soviet Union. He found it in neighboring Cambodia. “To regard itself as rising power, China needed that type of accessory,” Andrew Mertha, author of “Brothers in Arms: China’s Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979,” said in an interview.

China Is Urged to Confront Its Own History


 Irritated Relations as a Reflection of the Global and Regional Politics

Initially, China might have come into contact with Cambodia in the context of Indochina. China‟s policy in Southeast Asia was to keep her southern neighbors in check and free from another challenging power. The Indochina Union was not only a geopolitical locality for theFrench colonization but also tacitly represented a block of Communist countries within whichVietnam was a team leader of the Indochina Communist Party. With a fear of the Soviet Union‟s influence in the region through a proxy of the Vietnamese
, China broke up the Indochinese Communist Party in the mid-
1950s in order to reduce Vietnam‟s domination in the block.