Thursday, December 05, 2013

Thai Political Turmoil Could Affect Cambodia, Analysts Say

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer 05.12.2013

WASHINGTON DC - Political turmoil in Thailand, where protesters have overtaken government buildings and called for the premier there to step down, have sparked concerns in Cambodia that its diplomatic relations with its neighbor could again deteriorate.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen enjoyed close ties after Yingluck was elected. But she is facing immense pressure from violent protests in Bangkok.

Protesters this week entered police headquarters and the Government House, after occupying other ministries, and at least three people were killed in violent clashes between factions and police last week. The demonstrations, by so-called “Yellow Shirt” opposition supporters, erupted after Yingluck approved an amnesty law that could help her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, avoid corruption charges and return to Thailand.
“The governments of Yingluck and Thaksin are close to Hun Sen,” said Lao Mong Hay, an independent political analyst in Phnom Penh. “If the [Thai] opposition takes power, the relationship would be difficult for Hun Sen, who has directly criticized the opposition.”
Meanwhile, the Cambodian opposition is calling for its own anti-government demonstrations Dec. 10 and has called for Hun Sen to step down from a position it says has not been legitimized due to fraudulent elections in July.

“The deeds of the Thai protesters can be communicable to other countries,” Lao Mong Hay said. “Cambodia, which has a political stalemate, apparently would have organized such demonstrations.”

Peter Tan, founder of the Boston-based Global Strategy Asia, told VOA Khmer that he would not speculate on whether the Cambodian and Thai opposition are coordinating their efforts. “But I have seen similarities,” he said.

Both opposition movements have called for their respective premiers to step down, he said.

Supporters of Yingluck’s government and that of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party “have had a long-standing relationship, a very strong relationship,” he said. “So if the opposition, the Yellow Shirts, were to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, my prediction is that the Yellow Shirts and the CPP government would probably not have the strongest, firm relationship.”

Tension between the Yellow Shirt opposition and Cambodia’s ruling government was most evident in a border dispute over land near Preah Vihear temple, a nationalistic flashpoint for both sides that began in 2008 and turned into a protracted military standoff.

Cambodia’s opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, who himself has called for Hun Sen to step down, had reportedly close ties to the former Yellow Shirt government of then-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva.

However, Sok Touch, dean of Khemarak University in Phnom Penh, told VOA Khmer that any Thai government is likely to keep ties with Cambodia, which is a major market for Thai goods.

“If Thailand does not try to have a good relationship with Cambodia, this market will be grabbed by Vietnam and China,” he said.

Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told reporters Tuesday that the Cambodian government is closely watching the events in Thailand, and he warned local media not to create further trouble within Thai politics in their reports.


Anonymous said...

Kill Hun sen save your country from Viet,kill ah jol ma'shit Pheap Try save your forestry...Please release your Tsunami of protesters to occupies/kill,ah Kwack Hun sen and his god brother ah Pheap Try now!

Anonymous said...

Both are the same boat HUN and Sinatra Yinlak, Ifeel like Hun sold or cut island to Thai for dollars.KRANHUN EASAN

Anonymous said...

stop dreaming already! someone is hoping what happen in thailand will also happen in cambodia! stop dreaming! cambodia is cambodia, thailand is thailand, so stop dreaming already!

Anonymous said...

don't they know cambodia has a mind of its own? shameful to be ignorant like this! what make people think sam rainsy can do a better job than hun sen, etc? i mean what makes people think sam rainsy is easily colonized or control than say hen sen? shame!

cambodia is cambodia and will always be cambodia, so stop dreaming already!

Anonymous said...

@8:26 AM
What make you think he cannot, if Sam Rainsy never has a chance to lead? ok! you know! already!
Anyway any country has a mind of it own.

Anonymous said...

To have a traitor like Hun Sen to lead Cambodia is worse thing for the Khmer nation.
In Cambodia the most coward of them all are the military, police and those who have weapons because they allow Hun Sent to manipulate them as he wishes.

Anonymous said...

9:04am, wrong! the most coward and incompetent and easily to manipulate by foreigners is sam rainsy! hun sen is for cambodia, sam rainsy is perhaps put there by foreigners who dream of manupilating cambodia again like during french colonial era. remember during french colonial era, they like to pick coward and weak and incompetent leader for cambodia because the weak can be easily manipulated and control compare to the stronger one. that's just common sense! i'm glad khmer leaders are now wiser, learning from history!