Prime Minister Hun Sen is to receive the “ASEAN Lifetime Achievement Award” at a summit run by a Malaysian think tank in Laos this weekend – recognition the premier attributed to the “harmonious” relationship he has fostered between the bloc and China.
Speaking at the inauguration of a Chinese-funded road in Kampong Speu yesterday, Hun Sen said his government’s relationship with China was the reason for what he characterised as the cordial relations between the Asian behemoth and the 10 ASEAN states.
“I would like to share this with all the Cambodian people who support my foreign policy,” he added.
Relations between China and ASEAN states, however, have been especially strained of late, and Cambodia has repeatedly come under fire for its apparent toeing of the Chinese line on the South China Sea.
Michael Yeoh, chief executive officer of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, which is running the summit, said the prize was being awarded because Hun Sen’s 30-year reign had brought “development and prosperity” to Cambodia.