Cambodia

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Manet poses for pictures, as he attends an event to meet with garment workers on his first public appearance since taking office, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 29 August 2023. (Cindy Liu/Reuters)

Cambodia’s foreign policy under new Prime Minister Hun Manet

Hun Manet, son of Hun Sen, has been named Cambodia’s new prime minister in August. While Cambodia has maintained a close relationship with China during Hun Sen’s rule, how will its new leader negotiate the nation’s foreign relations amid great power rivalry? Cambodian commentator Rim Sokvy says even if the new leadership wants to align more with the West, and improve the transparency and accountability of the nation's bureaucratic system, the current state of domestic politics could hold it back from doing so.
Supporters of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) attend an election campaign for the upcoming national election in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 1 July 2023. (Cindy Liu/Reuters)

What is China's role in Cambodia’s upcoming election?

The US’s previous approach of pressuring Cambodia on improving its processes for democratic elections only pushed Cambodia closer to China, says Cambodian researcher Sokvy Rim. Now, with the ruling party dominating politics, the US and the West’s impact looks set to be further diminished. Will China’s influence further increase?
A Ukrainian soldier of the 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade "Edelweiss" prepares to fire a French MO-120-RT61 mortar towards Russian positions at a front line in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on 4 March 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP)

Why China's close ally Cambodia is a staunch supporter of Ukraine

While China appears to be getting further embroiled in the Russia-Ukraine war on the side of Russia and may seek to influence close ally Cambodia to follow suit, the latter does not seem to be easily swayed.
People walk and ride their bicycles in Jakarta, Indonesia, 20 November 2022. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

'Perfect storm': Indonesia's opportunities in a world in crisis

Taking an overview of global megatrends, including rising inflation, changes to business valuation and the race for technological supremacy, Indonesian business magnate Ang Tjoen Ming (Tahir) sieves out opportunities for Indonesia, and ways forward that could see it becoming one of the world’s seven largest economies in the next ten years.
A screen grab from a video featuring the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway. (Internet)

Easy highway, troubled city: How China wins and loses Cambodians’ hearts

Two China-driven projects show striking contrasts. The newly opened Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has been well-received by Cambodians. But grand plans for Sihanoukville to be an investment hub and “multi-purpose” city have instead seen Chinese businesses crowding out locals, a boom-bust cycle in construction and illicit trades.
Local people are seen on their vehicles as they get stuck in traffic while the VIP convoys pass during the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 3 August 2022. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

China: Needed but not well-loved in Cambodia

Cambodian commentator Sokvy Rim explains why recent Chinese immigrants in Cambodia are viewed with suspicion and even some dislike despite major Chinese investment flows in Cambodia and related economic benefits.
Soldiers fire 155mm howitzers during an annual live fire military exercise in Pingtung, Taiwan, 9 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

SEA's great power 'neutrality' risks being pro-China and anti-US

Susannah Patton, director of the Southeast Asia Program at Lowy Institute, asserts that though they seem to be taking a neutral stance, many Southeast Asian countries’ responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increasing US-China tensions on Taiwan have in fact affirmed narratives that are implicitly more critical of the US and other G7 countries. This may help to shape a regional environment that is far too permissive of aggression and coercion — the precise scenario that the countries hope to avoid.
Local residents ride past pro-Taiwan independence flags in Taipei, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

The 'one China' policy of Southeast Asian countries

Academic Ngeow Chow Bing takes stock of the "one China" policy of Southeast Asian countries, noting changes in interpretations over the years and their subtle differences from China's "one China" principle and the US's "one China" policy. He warns that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has exacerbated cross-strait tensions and could further limit Taiwan's international space in Southeast Asia.
Almost all signboards in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville are in Chinese. (Kwong Kai Chung/SPH Media)

The revival of Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s ‘Gold Rush’ city

In this fourth instalment of a seven-part Lianhe Zaobao-Business Times series on China and ASEAN, we look at the role of Chinese investors in the rise, fall and recovery of Cambodia’s Sihanoukville province.