United States sanctions Cambodia for its proximity to China

The United States has decided to increase its pressure on Cambodia by imposing, Thursday, December 9, an embargo on arms sales on the grounds that recent developments in this country were “Contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States”. Its relation to the China is explicitly targeted, as well as the increase in legal proceedings over the past two years, against representatives of civil society and members of the opposition.

“We urge the Cambodian government to make significant progress in the fight against corruption and human rights abuses, and to work to reduce the influence of the military. [République populaire de Chine] in Cambodia, which threatens regional and global security ”, said Secretary of State for Commerce Gina Raimondo in a statement. The massive Chinese investments in the Cambodian coastal provinces, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, in the form of tourism projects or infrastructure and concessions of fifty or ninety-nine years, are a source of concern for Washington, who suspects Beijing of wanting to provide itself with virtual strategic support points for the armed forces in the event of a conflict.

Opposition repression

The Americans ‘reproaches also relate to the Cambodians’ lack of transparency regarding the work carried out by Chinese companies inside the Cambodian naval base of Ream, where two structures offered by the Americans in the early 2010s were dismantled in 2020. without them being informed.

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The subject led Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to seek clarification from the Cambodian authorities in June and to request a field visit by the US military attaché in Phnom Penh. Invited to the base, the latter had ended the visit when he noticed that his hosts were not showing him everything. “Cambodia is under pressure, it feels unfairly criticized for something normal, which concerns our sovereignty, explained to World, regarding this incident, on October 8, Kin Phea, director general of the Institute of International Relations of the Royal Academy of Cambodia. Do you think the Americans show us everything if we visit one of their bases, or the CIA [l’Agence centrale de renseignement], or the Pentagon? “

In November, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against two senior Cambodian military officials for inflating the costs of a construction project at the Ream naval base in 2020 and 2021 and using the funds to their own advantage.

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United States sanctions Cambodia for its proximity to China

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