Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Foreign help has strings: Rainsy




Foreign help has strings: Rainsy

Self-exiled Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy addresses Khmer nationals during a speech at a Buddhist pagoda in Roubaix in northern France on Sunday.
Self-exiled Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy addresses Khmer nationals during a speech at a Buddhist pagoda in Roubaix in northern France on Sunday. Photo supplied

Foreign help has strings: Rainsy

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, currently in self-imposed exile and lobbying for foreign diplomatic support, told supporters in France on Sunday that Cambodia should not rely on foreign powers to solve its own problems, given the country’s history.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party president is currently abroad to avoid, among other legal entanglements, a two-year prison sentence stemming from a recently resurrected 2011 conviction for defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

In his remarks in France, he said a solution to the country’s ongoing political tensions should be flexible and between “Khmers and Khmers”, and should not rely on foreign powers.

Speaking at Wat Rasmei Samakki in France, Rainsy discussed the folly of how, after the decline of the Angkor Empire, successive factions of the Khmer royal family requested assistance and protection from the neighbouring states of Siam, today’s Thailand, and Annam, the precursor of Vietnam, to support their claims on power.

As a result, Thailand came to control the western provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap while Vietnam annexed the Mekong delta, referred to as Kampuchea Krom by some Cambodians.

“If we look at Cambodian history for the last 400 years, we have seen that Khmers have argued with each other continuously,” Rainsy said.

“When there were continuous conflicts, our Khmer behaviour was to win over fellow Khmers absolutely, and to win, we relied on foreign countries.

“This, we must withdraw. If we do not rely on the Western foreign countries, then we rely on the Eastern foreign countries. They help us to win but they do not help for free. They think of their own interests.”

Given his efforts to engage the international community to help with Cambodia’s ongoing political tension, the comments could be seen as somewhat ironic.

But via email, Rainsy said his remarks needed to be understood in the country’s historical context, which he said was reminiscent of Poland – a country “also caught between two powerful and aggressive neighbours: Prussia/Germany and Russia”.

He added: “But Cambodia has nothing to fear from Western countries, like Poland has nothing to fear from Brazil. Those countries do not share any common borders!”

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan agreed that a reliance on foreign powers undermined the Kingdom’s territory in the past, but the issue was not simple.

He said Vietnam “liberating” Cambodia from the Pol Pot regime, for example, was “meaningful help”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Potential shield’ for virus hangs in balance

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) suspended trials of the drug that US president Donald Trump has promoted as a coronavirus defence, fuelling concerns about his handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 US citizens. Trump has led the push for hydroxychloroquine as a potential

  • Gov’t rolls out stimulus to keep businesses afloat

    The government has introduced the fourth round of stimulus measures aimed at ensuring economic and social stability during the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease. The move, which was announced on Tuesday, is designed to help businesses, factories and enterprises to stay afloat while reducing the

  • E-cigarette back in spotlight amid virus pandemic

    The Ministry of Health’s Department of Communicable Disease (DCD) department has released a video about the effects of smoking, while the NGO Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH) warned against the use of electronic cigarettes or vape. The short video clip that was posted on

  • Por Sen Chey woman murdered

    Por Sen Chey district police are searching for a suspect who robbed and killed a woman in a rented room in Samraong Kraom commune in Phnom Penh at 6:30pm on Monday. Deputy district police chief Chea Sovann told The Post on Tuesday that the victim,

  • Police chief: remove all roadblocks

    National Police chief Neth Savoeun warned Phnom Penh and provincial police chiefs to remove all roadblocks, saying that traffic police officials in some provinces had tightened traffic law implementation against guidelines. In a leaked voice message which was shared on social media on Tuesday, Savoeun

  • Capital calls for Covid-19 caution

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall announced on Monday that authorities in the city’s 14 districts must encourage people to continue various safety measures to prevent a second wave of Covid-19. It called on administrations, departments and units to educate residents on daily living habits like