A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Kingdom reiterates stance on South China Sea


Manekseka Sangkum


The Cambodian regime has little choice except to back Beijing on regional issues like this one. This violent and abusive regime has got away with murders - literally - committed against innocents and social-political activists by staying close to two regional powers: China and Vietnam; the former for mostly financial capital and diplomatic leverage to compensate for half hearted western economic assistance and investment in mostly human resource capacity development and governance, subject to improvement on civil and human rights, while the latter offers more direct military backing insurance, as well as entrenched hegemonic presence in the country to defend against possible threat or prospect of any regime change. 

Contradictory geo-political stance given that these two foreign powers are each other's adversaries? Not at all, it's a win-win for all these ménage à trois bedfellows; an arrangement where the benefits outweigh the costs, even if the real casualties are restricted to the 14-15 million Khmers. As cited in the recent Global Witness report - most of the country's wealth and power stakes are not even in the hands of 0.1 per cent. It's a lot less than that... 

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A vendor stands behind a map of China including an insert with red dotted lines showing China's claimed territory in the South China Sea, in Beijing last month. AFP
A vendor stands behind a map of China including an insert with red dotted lines showing China's claimed territory in the South China Sea, in Beijing last month. AFP


Kingdom reiterates stance on South China Sea
Mon, 11 July 2016 ppp
Vong Sokheng


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday issued a statement reiterating government policy laid out expressly by Prime Minister Hun Sen in recent speeches, saying Cambodia will not support Tuesday’s expected arbitration decision at the Hague in the South China Sea territorial dispute between China and the Philippines.

“Cambodia views that the Philippines complaint is to request the Permanent Court of Arbitration to settle its dispute with China and this process is not related to all ASEAN member states,” notes the statement. “Therefore, Cambodia will not join in expressing any common position on the verdict of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.”

Hun Sen has stated his disapproval of the process on multiple occasions, labelling it a “political conspiracy” against China.


“This is the first time that the ministry issued a statement in order to make sure about the stance of Cambodia on the verdict of the court and avoid any misinterpretation,” ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said yesterday.

The statement also calls on the two countries “to settle their dispute through peaceful means”, in order to maintain stability and continue the mutually beneficial partnership between ASEAN and China.

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