Cambodia’s strategic positioning between the United States and China

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Manet attends his first cabinet meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 24 August 2023. (Photo: Reuters/Tang Chhin Sothy) Since the 1980s, Cambodia’s relations with the United States and China have fundamentally shifted. In 1988, former Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen described China as ‘evil’. But in 2016, he described ties as ‘ironclad.’ At the same time, Phnom Penh’s relations with Washington have worsened. Three main reasons accounting for this pattern are economic, political and security issues. Security — specifically the Cambodian government’s desire to remain in power — is the main reason for improved ties with […]

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