August 18, 2017

What’s Behind the New Cambodia-Laos Border Crisis?

A closer look at an episode in the context of Hun Sen’s wider domestic and foreign policy.


The Diploma, by Luke Hunt, August 16, 2017

Cambodia – traditionally a political, economic and military minnow – has grabbed the headlines in recent years in the diplomatic realm in the context of its spoiler role with the backing of China. And as the country approaches elections next year, Phnom Penh has been flexing its muscles of late, whether at home when it comes to cracking down on local opposition groups or abroad with some of its neighbors.
At home, the crackdown has been well-documented. Critics like the English language Cambodia Daily have been hit with exorbitant tax bills; industry sources are saying that publications and broadcasters of a similar ilk could follow suit. One Australian documentary maker is in prison charged with spying.

Abroad, the developments tended to be more episodic, though by no means less consequential. Cases run the gamut, from Cambodia’s weakening of ASEAN’s South China Sea position to Phnom Penh’s criticism directed at the United States.
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But over the weekend, Prime Minister Hun Sen made international headlines over a much less known international development. He warned Vietnam-friendly Laos that a harsh military response would be ordered unless its northern neighbor pulled about 30 soldiers, almost a platoon, out of a disputed area. Vientiane obliged.

The latest border quarrel is not in the same league as the 2008 conflict around the temple ruins of Preah Vihear, prompted by a Thai decision to send its troops across the border. It was a thoughtless move that won Cambodia international support and played no small role in the nationalist fervor Hun Sen tried to drum up ahead of his re-election that year.

Elections are again in the offing. And that helps explain Hun Sen’s nationalistic zeal – to the point of bullying – when dealing with suspect Lao border incursions as well as anybody else deemed a critic.

All this could not have come at a worse time for the ASEAN, which would have preferred to bask in the self-congratulatory glow of the 50th anniversary of its founding. ASEAN, it should be recalled, was designed not only as a bulwark against the spread of communism as Washington pulled out of South Vietnam in the early 1970s, but also for managing both major powers as well as internal conflicts within the region in the midst of the Cold War.

Hun Sen’s moves – from the weakening of ASEAN’s South China Sea position to the fuss over border issues with Laos – are a reminder that the regional organization still has a lot of work to do in these respects.

To be sure, it is not all for Hun Sen. China’s successful meddling in the affairs of Southeast Asian states, including Cambodia, has played a clear role as well. And there are other ASEAN countries, whether it be the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte or Brunei, that have also played a role in facilitating Hun Sen’s behavior.

And contrary to some of his previously optimistic statements about his longevity, Hun Sen will not be around forever. He has reportedly raised concerns among friends and peers that his health is not what it should be, and, indeed, this is being whispered around in diplomatic corners in an effort to explain his recent belligerent behavior. But one thing is for sure: as Cambodia moves into elections next year, Hun Sen and his government will not shy away from flexing their muscles at home and abroad on issues that they deem central to a victory at the polls.

20 comments:

sam said...


"And contrary to some of his previously optimistic statements about his longevity, Hun Sen will not be around forever. He has reportedly raised concerns among friends and peers that his health is not what it should be, and, indeed, this is being whispered around in diplomatic corners in an effort to explain his recent belligerent behavior."

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The sooner this traitor Hun Sen dies, the better is for Cambodia.

Kim Ea said...

No one in this world are eternity , Buddha said You born with nothing ,when to go back with nothing too . Why you are so grudge ?

sam said...



No one can escape death. But for some bad people, their shorter lives’ spans make other people feel relieved.

Kuon Khmer said...

If we cannot stop Vietcong's slave regime in our motherland, even if Hun Sen died, it won't make Cambodia any better because there would be a lot of men like him replaced, and it might be worse than Hun Sen.

O_O said...

A LAW CREATED TO PROTECT HUN SEN 'PRIME MINISTER' IS A KEY KHMER WIN, WIN SITUATION. WHO WOULD BE: ALL LEADER, ORGANIZATION, POLITICAL, RELIGION, UNION GOVERNMENT, ALL PARTY MUST BE RESPONSIBLE.

sam said...


There are 3 types of people who like the current oppressive situation in Cambodia and want Hun Sen to live longer to maintain the status quo:

1 – the Vietnamese or Khmer work for the Vietnamese
2 – the corrupted high ranking officials who benefit from the current regime
3 – the under-educated people who have been brainwashed by Hun Sen

According to your comments for pro- Hun Sen, ‘twin and the triplet’ which # do you belong to, or is it all of the above, kon yuon?
And thank for showing your true color.


O_O said...

ភ្នែកភ្លឺៗ មែនពិតមើលឃើញជិតៗ រាងអាយភ្នែកធ្មិចមើលឃើញឆ្ងាយសព្វទិសសាយមិនសេសសល់

sam said...


Horse and deer test
In ancient China, a powerful eunuch tested his power against an emperor's. He presented a deer to the Emperor, but called it a horse. The emperor laughed and said "Is the chancellor perhaps mistaken, calling a deer a horse?" Then the emperor questioned those around him. Some remained silent, some aligned with the eunuch, and said it was a horse. The eunuch executed every official who called the deer a deer. Since then the Emperor had been the eunuch’s puppet till his death.

As for nowadays Cambodia, if somebody dares to tell Hun Sen the truth that he does not want to hear that person is sent to jail. But, if somebody tells Hun Sen the lie that he likes to hear that person is rewarded. It sounds weird but it is a fact, but the ‘twin and kon yuon’ don’t believe it.


O_O said...

THERE ARE FOUR GROUPS IN KHMER SOCIETY. PEOPLE WHO:

1) DO IT (CPP)
2) BLAME FOR IT (CNRP)
3) WANT IT (KHMER PEOPLE, NO CHOICE)
4) TALK ABOUT IT (KHMER & CNRP & CPP)

TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, KHMER MUST UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF SOCIETY THEMSELVES. THE POLITICAL PEOPLE MUST BE CHEERLEADERS. KHMER PEOPLE MUST BE THE OWNER OF THE CHEERLEADER. IT'S CALLED DEMOCRACY.

sam said...



Reread and try to understand your own comment, it is impossible to communicate with a scholar made in Hanoi.


O_O said...

HUMANCE CAN CREATED ANOTHER HUMANCE CAN RECEIVED AND THE NEXT ONCE DESTROYED NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE!

sam said...



Drgunzet,

Frankly speaking, you waste the other people’s time and mine.
You try to fake your writing style with broken English to create a mess to this blog like in the past.
Do you understand me, now?




O_O said...

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WORKING BRAIN AND THE BRAIN WORKING.

Proud Cambodian American said...

I agree. Mr. Sam. You are acting like a person who's brain is working. It's only temporary. I suggest you start having a working brain, with consistent intelligent thoughts.

sam said...


Drgunzet,

You tell me dumb smart or smart dumb boy, how can your English be improved and then deteriorated so quickly within less than 2 hours?

O_O said...

THERE ARE FOUR GROUPS IN KHMER SOCIETY. PEOPLE WHO:

1) DO IT (CPP)
2) BLAME FOR IT (CNRP)
3) WANT IT (KHMER PEOPLE, NO CHOICE)
4) TALK ABOUT IT (KHMER & CNRP & CPP)

TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, KHMER MUST UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF SOCIETY THEMSELVES. THE POLITICAL PEOPLE MUST BE CHEERLEADERS. KHMER PEOPLE MUST BE THE OWNER OF THE CHEERLEADER. IT'S CALLED DEMOCRACY.

August 18, 2017 at 7:27 AM

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O_O said...
HUMANCE CAN CREATED ANOTHER HUMANCE CAN RECEIVED AND THE NEXT ONCE DESTROYED NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE!
August 18, 2017 at 8:59 AM
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Your face is hidden but your butt is exposed.


Ally Sanchez said...

sam said...

Drgunzet,

You tell me dumb smart or smart dumb boy, how can your English be improved and then deteriorated so quickly within less than 2 hours?

Your face is hidden but your butt is exposed.
~~~~~~~
I suppose some people are the butt. Good job, sam. You've proved yourself to be a talentless individual who spends his time making fun of people that talk sense.

sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sam said...



http://kimedia.blogspot.com/2014/09/kals-take-on-khmerisation-and-its.html


sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sam said...


Proud Cambodian American and Ally Sanchez,

Just to join this thread, 2 more new screen names above are hastily created by another reader to help him out. LOL
Wow welcome to the party! And what’s a coward and cheap way that your creator wants to win the arguments?
Click on the screen names to find out.
It seems like your creator yuon trick is back fired.
Both of you can prove to the people here that I am wrong by showing the links to any of your comments ‘before August 2017.’