Cambodia’s relations with the US and China have shifted due to security and economic reasons, seeking positive ties with both.
Cambodian Relations with the United States and China
Since the 1980s, Cambodia’s relations with the United States and China have fundamentally shifted. In 1988, former Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen described China as ‘evil’. But in 2016, he described ties as ‘ironclad.’ At the same time, Phnom Penh’s relations with Washington have worsened.
Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Cambodia is currently under scrutiny, especially from those who have a negative perception of it. Public opinion in Cambodia towards China has been inconsistent in recent years, with critics claiming that Chinese investments primarily benefit those in positions of power rather than the majority of the Cambodian population.
Reasons for Changes in Relations
Three main issues accounting for this pattern are economic, political, and security-based. Security — notably the Cambodian government’s desire to remain in power — is the main reason for improved ties with China and deteriorating links with the United States.
Diplomatic Ties with China and the U.S.
While Cambodia maintains warm ties with China, it seeks to avoid an adversarial relationship with the United States. China provides economic funding, political support, and ample assistance, particularly in traditional security. On the other hand, the United States does not provide military supplies.
Future of Cambodia’s Foreign Relations
Under Hun Manet’s leadership, Cambodia aims to maximize benefits by further embracing China and repairing ties with the United States, signaling less of an adversarial relationship between the two countries. With Hun Manet’s interest in developing ties with US businesses, Cambodia’s relations with the U.S. may continue to improve.
Read original article here: Cambodia’s strategic positioning between the United States and China
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