The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has proposed a delicate balance of firm yet adaptable foreign policy for the upcoming general election on July 23.
The policy will primarily honour the international order as per UN and ASEAN charters, with national interest and peace as the paramount concerns, explained Kung Phoak, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
In an interview with NEC on July 18, Phoak outlined the CPP’s stance.
In light of the significant shifts in global politics and the risks from conflicts among superpowers, he emphasised the CPP’s commitment to the Cambodian people, the nation’s constitution, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and neutrality.
“Cambodia will not mortgage its sovereignty for any trade scheme or foreign aid,” stated Phoak.
He also asserted the nation’s intent to respect international law, particularly in terms of its borders.
He explained that Cambodia aims to cultivate peaceful and productive relations with its neighbours.
Phoak detailed seven key principles that Cambodia commits to follow. These include refraining from using force, withholding support for invasions of independent states, opposing the division of states, disapproving of unlawful occupations, abstaining from interfering in other nations’ domestic affairs, forbidding foreign military presence in Cambodia, and resisting endorsement of invasions of other countries.
“We aim to solidify our ties with long-standing friends while cultivating new relationships and collaborations. We want to maintain connections with all countries, near and far,” Phoak added.
He shared that the new government will work towards enhancing Cambodia’s international presence, promoting multilateralism, and leveraging the momentum from hosting the 2022 ASEAN summit, the 32nd SEA Games, and the 12th ASEAN Para Games.
On the economic front, Cambodia plans to attract more investment, expand international markets for local products, boost industrial exports, and promote national culture and tourism. It also aims to capitalise on free trade agreements to spur economic growth.
As part of its diplomatic strategy, the government plans to enhance the skills of future diplomats, focusing on professionalism, patriotism, and potential.
Kin Phea, director of the International Relation Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, agreed with CPP’s proposed policy.
He noted it aligns with the constitution, especially Article 53, which underscores Cambodia’s neutrality and peaceful coexistence with all countries.
Phea emphasised the significance of the CPP’s ‘seven principles’ given the rapidly evolving global scenario.
“Though Cambodia is a small country, we always uphold the law, stand on the principle of multilateralism, and staunchly defend our independence. We have seen Prime Minister Hun Sen stress that Cambodia will never trade its independence for any preference,” he said.
He concluded by lauding the policy for its wisdom, recognising Cambodia’s need to stick to multilateralism amid superpower competitions and its responsibility to reinforce ASEAN’s role as a major hub for trade and commerce.