The minister of foreign affairs maintained yesterday that Cambodia is not allied with China, stating that the Kingdom is “neutral”, despite an apparent diplomatic shift towards the nascent superpower and away from the West.
Minister Prak Sokhonn told a crowd of over 200 students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh that Cambodia will keep firm in its neutrality.
“We will stay neutral and unaligned . . . Non-alliance does not bring harm to us . . . We have good relations with the United States; we have good relations with China, but are not allied to China or pro-China.”
Sokhonn added Cambodia’s years of turmoil were caused by the country aligning with major powers.
While he did not mention any country by name, the statement seemed to refer to the US’s Cold War-era jockeying for influence in Cambodia, which culminated in the US-backed Lon Nol regime, which in turn gave way the Khmer Rouge.
So Chantha, a professor of political science, agreed it was in Cambodia’s best interest to remain neutral. “Cambodia has to be friends with every country in the world for the benefit of the Cambodianpeople.”