Some members of the Cambodian diaspora in Australia have penned a letter to that country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, asking top officials to condemn an undermining of democracy in the Kingdom.
But ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan hit back at the letter and said it was a fruitless attempt and a message prepared by an opposition group.
Signed by around 100 people, the document also demands that assets be frozen and high-ranking Cambodian government officials are banned from obtaining a visa to travel to Australia.
“We are concerned Australian citizens, who are dismayed by the Hun Sen government’s attack on democratic freedoms in Cambodia.
“We are cognizant of your upcoming meeting with Monovithya Kem, so we lend our voices in solidarity,” said the letter, which was dated August 12 and spread widely on social media.
Kem Monovithya, the daughter of jailed former Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha, is currently in Australia and told the media there that she would meet with Bishop this week.
Requests for comments from Monovithya went unanswered on Monday.
Speaking to Australian media over the past week, Bishop indicated that Canberra will follow the US government in expressing its disappointment over the current political situation in Cambodia.
She claimed there were “many options” available to respond to the situation.
Responding to Monovithya’s comments, Eysan said it was just the latest move by an opposition group.
“She [Monovithya] has been doing this since before the election. This is her old idea ... Australia has not indicated any intention to withdraw its embassy from Cambodia. It would not acknowledge an outlawed rebel.
“Australia acknowledges the legitimate government in Cambodia, and so the group’s demands to cause chaos in Cambodia will be fruitless.
“Even US President [Donald] Trump has not spoken ill of Cambodia. Only members of parliament from opposition parties or those who have imperial minds insult Cambodia,” he stressed.
Monovithya called Australia a “mafia hub” for Cambodia’s corrupt elite. But Eysan said such a comment was nothing but an insult to the Australian authorities.
“She not only looks down on the CPP and government officials but on Australian authorities. How can Australian authorities let money laundering and smuggling happen in their country?"
“This is an insult on Australian sovereignty and leadership ability,” he said.