Sunday, November 24, 2013

Japan’s Premier Criticized After Visiting Cambodia

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer, 23 November 2013

WASHINGTON DC - Japan’s prime minister failed to address major issues, by leaving aside Cambodia’s political deadlock and its poor human rights record on a visit last week, rights activists say.

“It was a missed opportunity for the government of Japan, which has a great deal of leverage with the Cambodian government because of its large aid budget,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Cambodia last weekend, vowing financial support to Prime Minister Hun Sen to help promote human rights and democracy.

Peter Tan Keo
But he did not discuss the results of July’s election, which the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has rejected.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said politics should be “placed away from people’s social welfare,” and that Japan’s stance in supporting Cambodia was “clear.”

“We all should understand that we have just walked out of war, and we need support from every corner,” he said.

Peter Tan Keo, an independent analyst in the US, told VOA Khmer that Japan’s stance appeared to be support for reform of Cambodia’s electoral system for future elections, rather than to address problems with the past election.

“When they congratulate the government without really trying to find an alternative to solve the political stalemate, that raises a lot of questions,” he said. “When people go out and they cast their votes, and the people are demanding transparency, particularly with the regard to the electoral process, and there is no transparency, then that affects the democratic process,” he said.

Phay Siphan
John Ciorciari, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, said Japan has taken many steps to encourage democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia. “But like most external powers, its diplomacy in Southeast Asia is guided primarily by its conceptions of its own national interest,” he said.

Abe encourage reforms and peaceful resolutions to political problems, and he did not explicitly endorse the outcome of July’s elections, Ciorciari said. “However, his visit and pledge to keep aid flowing to Cambodia—including aid on electoral reform—amount to an implicit recognition of the new government.”

That could mean less pressure on the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, while leaving many supporters of the opposition “disappointed,” he said. But Japan has regional concerns, he said.
“Abe’s trip to Phnom Penh is part of Japan’s latest diplomatic surge in the region—a surge motivated primarily by concerns about China,” he said. “Japan is particularly concerned about Chinese influence in Cambodia, which has supported Beijing in Asean discussions on the South China Sea. The visit to Phnom Penh is quite consistent with Japan’s long-term strategy of coupling aid with political engagement to develop influence in Southeast Asia.”


Anonymous said...

Japan played a big role in helping Cambodia leading to the UNTAC operation in the first democratic election after the Viet-induced civil war that led to the massacre of innocent mankind. But Japan turned a blind eye on the obvious flaw of the recent election. The CNRP won the election and the Viet-backed CPP robbed it.

Japan ought to discuss this electoral robbing and offer help in the investigation to find the truth. This was a disappointment as Japan has a leverage over Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

japan already said they don't take side with anyone. the trip was for the interest of japan. stop hurting my country cambodia. we want japan to help us to develop, etc. i'm glad japan came to cambodia with a friendly gesture. cambodia and japan can be good partners, too. japan has its own mind, so stop trying to spread your hate with japan and cambodia. they can't accept that. god bless my country cambodia always.

Anonymous said...

ភាគច្រើន នៃឥស្សរជនបរទេស ដែលបានចូលទៅ ធ្វើទស្សនកិច្ចនៅកម្ពុជា គឺឆ្លងមិនរួច ពីការបង្វួក របស់គណបក្សប្រជាជនឡើយ គឺយកស្រីក្មេងស្អាត ឲ្យមកបម្រើអ្នកទាំងនោះ ។

Anonymous said...

All khmer must stand up and overthrow HUN SEN from the power now otherwise it will be too late to liberate Cambodia from Vietnamese communist

Anonymous said...

Thlang Nass Ah Tumpek Phay Si Phom !!

Anonymous said...

we just walked out of war ? is that what your government told you to say ? use your head phy siphan .. if you have any .
Khmer Ga

Anonymous said...

All khmer must stand up and do the samething like People in Prek Leap Temple today, if all Khmer do like that, HUN SEN must run to live in HANOI

Anonymous said...

Dumb ass @ 10:56 am,
What progress have Cambodia made in 30 years? Care to share with us?

Anonymous said...

Best wishes and good luck to the CPP and its leaders for their noble efforts to save Cambodia from the loser CNRP. Mike.

Anonymous said...

Did ah Phay Siphom shown up at Wat Prek Liep too, if he did show up, you guy had missed a chance to kill him. Our society has gained nothing of his presence, and we wouldn't loose anything of his absence. Therefore, he is useless to our society.