In response to the dissolution of the main opposition and the perceived deterioration of human rights and democracy in Cambodia, the United States and European Union have taken measures in an attempt to reverse Cambodia’s democratic backsliding.
According to the Philippines, the presence of about 275 Chinese vessels near Thitu between January and March 2019 violated its “sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction”. It filed a diplomatic protest to this effect.
Pakistan has been trying to draw foreign direct investment, and one of the important developments during Mahathir’s visit was the ground breaking ceremony for Malaysian car maker Proton’s assembly plant near Karachi in Sindh Province.
Two former Philippines officials filed a complaint with the ICC against China for “crimes against humanity”, alleging that President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Chinese Ambassador perpetrated environmental damage in the South China Sea.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is facing significant challenges to his legitimacy. He appears to be in a dilemma over how to deal with measures taken by the European Union to suspend the Kingdom’s preferential access to the EU Single Market.
China’s policy towards the Myitsone dam has seen several changes since Myanmar suspended the project in 2011. The NLD government pursued for compensation for reneging on the terms of the contract rather than resuming the project.
There is certainly no shortage of warmongering blaring from both China and the US regarding the South China Sea. Indeed, a recent public tit-for-tat illustrates both the danger of such public advocacy and of taking it seriously.
After China issued formal diplomatic protests to Quad members asking their intention, Australia withdrew from the Quad and meetings ceased. Indeed, the concept is more likely to go the way of the dodo than rise from its ashes like a phoenix.
Xenophobia in Cambodia is a serious issue which should not be ignored or taken lightly. One example was a violent riot against Thai embassy and Thai businesses in Phnom Penh in 2003. This incident was obviously motivated by anti-Thai sentiments among Cambodians.
A recent article in The National Interest posed the question “Are [US] Freedom of Navigation Operations in East Asia enough?” If FONOPs are to demonstrate non-acquiescence to what the US views as a violation of international law, they may be unnecessary.