31 October 2010
Hillary Clinton receiving better treatment in Cambodia than Ban Ki-moon (2)
Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Cambodia yesterday, is receiving better treatment by the Cambodian government than United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this week. While Prime Minister Hun Sen humiliated Ban Ki-moon with his two undiplomatic, untimely and unacceptable requests -- closure of the UN human rights office and abrupt termination of the UN-sponsored Khmer Rouge Tribunal after Trial # 2 -- he is being more respectful to the head of the US diplomacy for two main reasons:
- Vietnam, which exerts a strong influence on Cambodia, is imploring the US to help counter China's aggressive policy in asserting Beijing's exclusive sovereignty on the South China Sea. The US has therefore, through Vietnam, a strong leverage on Cambodia.
- The US State Department and Justice Department can order any time the FBI to release its still partly classified Report showing Hun Sen's involvement in the 1997 deadly grenade attack in Phnom Penh.
Forced closing of UN office would be a violation of the Paris Agreement on Cambodia (1)
Prime Minister Hun Sen told visiting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 27 October that he wanted to close down the UN human rights office in Cambodia. However, Article 17 of the 1991 Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict, stipulates, "After the end of the transitional period, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights should continue to monitor closely the human rights situation in Cambodia, including, if necessary, by the appointment of a Special Rapporteur who would report his findings annually to the Commission and to the General Assembly." It is obvious that, in order to "monitor closely the human rights situation in Cambodia," the concerned UN body has to operate and maintain an office in this country. Read related opposition party statement at http://tinyurl.com/275kphp
Vietnam encroaching on Cambodia's territory in Kampong Cham province (1)
Some two hundreds Khmer farmers from Trapeang Damrey Thom village, Da commune in Kampong Cham province's Memot district, are protesting against the planting by Vietnamese authorities on 27 October 2010 of border post # 109 on their farm lands. This is the latest incident in a long series of border encroachments in the Eastern provinces of Cambodia. Listen to 30 October 2010 report in Khmer on Radio Free Asia at http://tinyurl.com/37eflzn
Hun Sen acknowledges government disinformation on border situation (2)
By accepting to violate the constitution by not responding to questions from National Assembly members on the border situation, Prime Minister Hun Sen implicitly acknowledges that he has actually not told the truth on the sensitive issue of Cambodian farmers losing their lands because of border encroachments by Vietnam. Moreover, he acknowledges that the CPP's top leadership has disseminated false information by recently telling King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, "Not a single Khmer farmer has lost his/her rice field in the ongoing border demarcation process with Vietnam." The questions from parliamentarians were officially asked on 15 October 2010, and the government had to respond within seven days according to article 96 of the constitution. See related news published in these columns on 24 October 2010, "Chea Sim, Hun Sen and Heng Samrin disseminating false information on border situation."
China not happy with King-Father Norodom Sihanouk's recent visit to Vietnam (2)
China had unsuccessfully tried to prevent King-Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk from accompanying King Norodom Sihamoni in his last June's official visit to Vietnam. Beijing did not appreciate the whole three-member Cambodian royal family, traditionally close to China, going together to pay tribute as a vassal to Vietnam. Nevertheless, Vietnam wanted Norodom Sihanouk to symbolically endorse controversial border treaties imposed on Cambodia in the 1980s. Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened again to abolish the monarchy if Norodom Sihanouk did not go to Hanoi. During the visit, while state television in Hanoi was broadcasting scenes of the royal allegiance to Vietnam, some TV stations in China broadcast scenes of China's (Cambodia-related) Punitive War against Vietnam in 1979.
Opposition elected official to be released from jail (2)
After the release yesterday of journalist Ros Sokhet who was detained for more than a year for "disinformation" or "dissemination of false information" some other government critics or opposition activists are expected to be released soon from prison following increasing international pressure. One of them could be SRP elected commune chief Tuot Saran whom Amnesty International describes as a "prisoner of conscience." "Amnesty International believes that the accusations against [Tuot Saran] were baseless and politically motivated, in order to intimidate other opposition party activists," the organization said in a 15 September 2010 statement.
Airport operator asks government to open up competition for flights to Sihanoukville (1)
Because national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air, which is affiliated with Air Vietnam, is reluctant to schedule flights to Sihanoukville (see "Conflict of interests between Cambodia and Vietnam in airline joint venture," KI News, 24 October 2010), French airport operator SCA said on 27 October 2010 they were negotiating with several other airlines to start flights to the coastal destination. However, there is a lack of political will on the part of the Cambodian government to open up competition for the reason we have explained.
24 October 2010
Chea Sim, Hun Sen and Heng Samrin disseminating false information on border situation (2)
In a tit-for-tat move, the SRP leadership is accusing CPP top three leaders Chea Sim, Hun Sen and Heng Samrin of disseminating false information, a charge that could logically send them to prison based on current laws in Cambodia. In a recent letter to King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, the three CPP leaders claimed, "Not a single Khmer farmer has lost his/her rice field in the ongoing border demarcation process with Vietnam." The case of Prum Chea and Meas Srey, two Cambodian farmers from Svay Rieng province who were recently arrested and jailed for protesting the loss of their rice fields because of border encroachment, are living evidence to the contrary and an irrefutable denial of CPP's claim on the issue. Read related statement at http://tinyurl.com/3x6nrc2
Conflict of interests between Cambodia and Vietnam in airline joint venture (2)
National carrier Cambodia Angkor Air is unwilling to extend regular flights to Preah Sihanouk City (or Sihanoukville) which boasts a newly-extended airport, even though Cambodia's southwestern coastline and islands are considered a vital part of the country's tourism growth strategy. Vietnam Airlines, which operates Cambodia Angkor Air, actually doesn't want Preah Sihanouk City to seriously compete with nearby Vietnam's Phu Quoc island, which is also a newly-developed destination for international tourism with a brand new airport.