A ruling party spokesman on Tuesday hit back at a Facebook post by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, claiming that the Kingdom is borrowing too much money from China and allowing their interests to control too much of Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong provinces.
Sok Eysan, the Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) spokesman said foreign debt was routine, and that the post was an unjust attack.
Posting on his social media page on July 2, Rainsy, the former leader of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), said: “Hun Sen has financial debts with China and political debts to Vietnam which promoted his group as a puppet leader since 1979.
“Hun Sen’s financial and political debts and his group made Cambodia lose its territory to China and Vietnam.”
But Eysan said Rainsy’s claims were just an attack against the government for political gain, pointing out that both the European Union (EU) and the US were indebted to China as well.
He said Europe and the US also owed a lot of money to China, so why didn’t Rainsy raise this point too, he asked.
Eysan also said the Kingdom’s loans to rebuild itself is in line with the 1991 Paris Peace Accords where 18 countries had participated.
“Foreign debt is not illegal under the Paris Peace Agreements. But convicted Sam Rainsy only selects some points to attack the government and the CPP, which is the party that won the election,” Eysan said.
In response to allegations that Cambodia could lose its land due to financial and political debts, Eysan said the Kingdom is not politically indebted to any country.
In his online comments, Rainsy also compared Cambodia to Sri Lanka, a small island country south of India, whose leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has borrowed a huge amount of money from China over the years.
He claimed that because of the excessive debt, Sri Lanka’s leaders gave territories along its coastline to China under a 99-year concession, adding that Sri Lankans rose up in order to claim their country’s territories back.
Political analyst and social affairs researcher, Meas Ny said that foreign loans for a country’s development is truly normal, pointing to the fact that many countries have far more foreign debt than Cambodia.
“However, the political structure in Cambodia is softer than other countries, and we are also poorer than some, therefore, the risk of China’s influence in this country will be much greater,” Ny said.