Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sokhonn: Cambodia will not sacrifice sovereignty for aid

Sokhonn: Cambodia will not sacrifice sovereignty for aid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn says Cambodia will not trade national sovereignty for foreign aid. Heng Chivoan

Sokhonn: Cambodia will not sacrifice sovereignty for aid

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation maintained on Monday that the Kingdom will not sacrifice its national sovereignty in exchange for foreign aid.

In a press release issued following the January 17-18 Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn said Cambodia had previously experienced hardships resulting from international sanctions and isolation and therefore would not bow to international pressure.

“Cambodia will not trade its sovereignty for any assistance. In the past, Cambodia has gone through a hard time,” Sokhonn said.

The statement came after the EU decided to impose tariffs on rice from Cambodia. The decision will be in effect for three years and is expected to cost the country’s rice sector around $53 million in the first year based on the amount the Kingdom exported to the EU last year.

The minister also expressed concerns over the international community’s double standard, which favours wealthier countries.

“The use of a double standard approach to pick and choose only areas that suit and benefit stronger countries [is worrisome],” said the statement.

Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) president Sok Touch said a lack of unity among Asean member states has given way to international interference into the block’s internal affairs.

“We need to have good policies in place. The economy goes hand-in-hand with politics, so if [world powers] want us to follow a certain political path they will exert pressure on us.

“While we refuse to trade sovereignty for foreign aid, we must be well-prepared – whom and what should we turn to if there is no foreign assistance?

“We need to build stronger ties with countries that have common goals, be it Japan, South Korea, China, Russia or the Arab alliance,” he said.

Cambodia has seen tensions with certain members of the international community heighten in recent months.

Western nations, namely the EU and the US, have threatened to withdraw preferential trading agreements with the Kingdom over what they regard as the deterioration of democracy and press freedom in the country since the dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party in November 2017.

Cambodian government officials, however, have labelled the pressure an affront to the country’s sovereignty.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen asks Cambodians to believe in government

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday asked citizens and investors to trust that the government will overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the loss of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Speaking to reporters at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh,

  • Westerdam passenger ‘never had’ Covid-19

    The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the US citizen that allegedly tested positive in Malaysia after travelling on the Westerdam was never infected with Covid-19 in the first place. In an article published in the newspaper USA Today on Friday, CDC

  • ‘Ghost staff’ found, $1.7M returned to state coffers

    The Ministry of Civil Service said more than seven billion riel ($1.7 million) in salaries for civil servants was returned to the state last year after it discovered that the books had been cooked to pay ‘ghost officials’. This is despite claims by the Ministry of

  • Woman wanted for killing own son

    Police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district are on the lookout for a woman who allegedly hacked her son to death on Sunday in Stung Meanchey III commune. District police chief Meng Vimeandara identified the son as Chan Sokhom, 32. “The offender can’t escape forever.

  • Tragedy as four lions devour teenager in Pakistan safari park

    In a horrifying incident at an animal park in the Pakistani city of Lahore, four lions killed a 17-year-old grass reaper. However, how Muhammad Bilal Hussain managed to get near the lions was yet to be ascertained. Safari officials said Hussain climbed a 3.7m high

  • H5N1 also poses deadly threat, ministry warns

    The Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) department has called on citizens to excise caution over H5N1 or bird flu that is spreading in the southern province of Vietnam. In a Facebook post, the department announced that it has made a series