Prime Minister Hun Sen has reiterated that he will not allow any “colour revolutions” on Cambodian territory, warning that anyone who violates the Constitution will be “crushed by the armed forces”.
Hun Sen was speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of National Defence’s new secretariat building on December 29.
“We do not allow anyone to foment colour revolutions on our land. We have far too often experienced the taste of pain in our war-torn country. We will not neglect to consider our national security,” he said.
The occasion also doubled as an early celebration of the 23rd anniversary of Victory Day on December 30-31, which the government considers the official date of national unification when a comprehensive peace settlement was implemented and the Kingdom regained complete territorial integrity.
“No matter where a coup comes from, we have to act immediately to destroy it. No one is allowed to overthrow the state with a colour revolution. We have to get a firm handle on this,” he said.
“The core goals [of colour revolutions] are to neutralise the armed forces and the civilian government. These thieves mastermind plots to topple the government. Previously,regimes were toppled through the army, but in modern times such plots are attempted through colour revolutions.”
Hun Sen noted that the Kingdom observed the principle of neutrality for the armed forces only between legitimate political parties because the armed forces must protect political rivals equally.
However, he said, the military would not stay neutral in a conflict between the legitimate government and a political party.
“If the commanders of military regions and generals won’t take action to stop [attempted revolutions], then remove and replace them with new people. If anyone attempts to overthrow us, we must crush them. We have no choice. They wanted to topple us just a few years ago,” he said.
Hun Sen said he considered the mass demonstrations in 2013 led by the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) following the parliamentary elections an attempt to overthrow his government.
“Watch the clips and take a listen to the [protester’s chants] again. They were shouting Hun Sen step down! Hun Sen step down! No. I am in power. The election had been held already. I won it, but you still come and demand that I step down? So, what does that mean? What does that really mean? Do you understand?” he asked rhetorically.
“They are shouting Hun Sen step down already when the government had just been formed after the  election outcome was called. Nobody has ever started a protest up at 2 o’clock in the morning anywhere in the entire world. Who protests at 2am? Or has food ready to be handed out at the protest sites?” Hun Sen said.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on December 29 that it is normal for a legitimate government to maintain regime continuity by opposing any movements or revolutions attempted through rioting or violence. He said it is part of the government’s obligation to safeguard stability, peace and social order.
“The government has an obligation to crack down on every form of revolution that is against the will of the people, for one thing, and in Cambodia the will of the people is expressed through elections, not demonstrations.
“Second, it must be understood that the military is a tool of the state to maintain peace, ensure stability and retain its control over national territory in the face of threats both externally and internally in order to fulfil its obligations under the Constitution and the laws in force,” he said.