Cambodia never to allow Chinese troops on its soil – Asia Times

Cambodia never to allow Chinese troops on its soil - Asia Times

Cambodia’s recently proposed Funan Techo Canal, a project funded by China’s Belt and Road Initiative, aims to promote trade, lower logistics costs, and simplify transportation while reducing Taiwanese port dependency.

However, recent studies suggest that the Beijing-financed, US$ 1.7 billion route could also be used as a Chinese military base, putting in a threat to Vietnam’s neighbors and supporting the notion that Cambodia is China’s ready proxy. &nbsp,

According to the reports, which include a review from a university affiliated with the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, the canal might allow Chinese military vehicles to enter Cambodia through the Gulf of Thailand and along the border between Vietnam and Vietnam.

Although non-state Asian actors voiced their concerns, the alarm-bell analysis assumes that the Asian state is expressing its concerns through an illegal channel to avoid straining Phnom Penh’s official relations with the country. &nbsp,

However, the problem was well understood by Thai officials. The idea that the canal could be used for Chinese martial purposes was vehemently refuted by Cambodia’s past, long-ruling prime minister and present Senate President Hun Sen.

” First and foremost, why does Cambodia need Foreign army? Next, Vietnam and Cambodia are friendly relatives who work together in every way. China and Vietnam are close allies and corporate allies, respectively. Finally, why did Cambodia help Chinese forces into the state if it violated the Constitution”? Hun Sen wrote in a blog.

Vietnam’s concerns about the task were first discussed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to Hun Manet in Hanoi during a conference in December 2023. Therefore, Vietnam’s established issue centered on the program’s reputed environmental impacts.

However, Hanoi is more concerned with China’s perceived corporate goals. Information about Chinese ships docking at Cambodia’s Ream Naval center, which opens onto the Gulf of Thailand, have received acclaim from major media outlets, including Nikkei Asia.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies ( CSIS ) think tank used imagery analysis to support the Nikkei article, which revealed that the warships had been docked at the Cambodian port for” a large portion of the past five months.”

Cambodia lately received assistance from China in dredge the bottom to allow for larger ships to port. Officials in Cambodia claim that the recent arrival of Chinese warships it was only for training with the Cambodian navy.

Since 2019, concerns about China’s ambitions in Cambodia have been high on the international media’s radar. In a 2019 article, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Cambodia had signed a” secret” agreement that would allow China to use its naval base for 30 years, with automatic renewals for ten more years.

According to the bomb content, US officials had access to an earlier draft of the alleged agreement. Ream Naval Base’s proximity to the upcoming Funan Techo river has given the allegation of a Cambodia-China basic deal new life.

Vietnamese leaders have often and vehemently refuted claims that a deal would allow for a lasting Chinese military presence on its soil. According to Article 53 of the Cambodian Constitution, which states that the nation must continue to be balanced and non-aligned, Hun Sen and others have cited the country’s Content 53. The legal provision forbids foreign military installations on Vietnamese soil.

In a public relations campaign, the Thai government even went as far as to encourage foreign journalists to Ream Naval Base in July 2019 to demonstrate that there was no unusual military presence there. Many in the West and some of the neighbors, including Vietnam and probably Thailand, also believe that China intends to establish a ground-breaking military presence in Cambodia.

They contend that the law and associated laws have one provision that can be changed to allow for a troop presence abroad.

However, all of this disregards Cambodia’s powerful historical justification for maintaining neutrality in a new period of possible weakening superpower rivalry. Viet Cong soldiers were present on Thai soil during the 1960s and early 1970s, which precipitated a fatal three-decade civil war.

Cambodia’s rural northeast place served as a refuge and a funding hub for the Viet Cong, who had spied on the country’s eastern border. Cambodia’s potential to suppress the Taiwanese invasion along their 600- mile border was therefore limited, leading to more Viet Cong penetration.

That, in turn, led to America’s renowned B- 52 assault of Cambodia, an indiscriminate strategy that finally gave rise to the murderous Democratic Kampuchea, or Khmer Rouge, regime and the killing of between 1.7 to 3 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979.

The country is still at risk of not fully recover from this tragedy because of the presence of foreign causes on Thai soil. The country finally came to peace and stability thanks to UN-sanctioned social quality and clever domestic political maneuvers. &nbsp,

The nation and its people were left a strong, permanent, and finally unimaginable wound by all this needless death and discord. In the midst of tense wonderful strength conflict, Cambodia learned the hard way about the possible disastrous effects of allowing international forces, whether or not, to invade its territory.

It is incorrect to assume that Cambodia’s leaders have forgotten this not-so-distant history, including all those who perished during the shooting area era, is that they would presently consider allowing another overseas military presence on its soil.

But rest assured that Cambodia is also aware of the danger of colliding with hegemons. According to a teetotal proverb, the turf suffers when animals battle. Clearly, Cambodia does n’t want geopolitical elephants fighting on its land ever again.

Sothearak Sok teaches at the Royal University of Phnom&nbsp, Penh, Cambodia, as well as as a research fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.