Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vietnam ‘not my king’: PM




Vietnam ‘not my king’: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the capital’s Peace Palace in 2014 during a visit by a Vietnamese delegation that included the Vietnamese prime minister.
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the capital’s Peace Palace in 2014 during a visit by a Vietnamese delegation that included the Vietnamese prime minister. Heng Chivoan

Vietnam ‘not my king’: PM

Using unusually strong language about his ties to Vietnam, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday personally slapped down a Facebook user who accused him of “betraying” Cambodia’s eastern neighbour, asserting “Vietnam is not my boss”.

Replying to the comment by an account named “Pham Duc Hien”, the premier emphasised his loyalty to the Kingdom, while also telling the user to relay the message to Vietnam’s leaders who “always respect Cambodia’s sovereignty and are totally different from you, who is unimportant”.

“You need to know that I am loyal with my Cambodian people, my King, and my beloved wife. Vietnam is not my boss who I have to be loyal with,” Hun Sen stated. “If you are a Vietnamese living in Cambodia, you must respect Cambodia’s law; if you are living in Cambodia illegally, you must leave Cambodia; and if you live in Vietnam, please love Vietnam’s leader”.

Opponents of the premier have long attacked the ruling Cambodian People’s Party links to Vietnam, saying the country, which backed the military invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge and brought the CPP’s core members to power, still wields too much influence in the country.

However, more recently, Cambodia has made a shift towards China, the Kingdom’s largest foreign investor, which analysts say has allowed the prime minister to more openly distance himself from Hanoi.

Last year, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly released a series of terse diplomatic notes sent to Vietnam protesting construction within disputed border areas, a sensitive subject for many Cambodians.

Speaking yesterday, political observer Ou Virak said the recent comments appeared both a bid for popularity among voters critical of Vietnam and an attempt to neutralise one of the opposition’s main weapons of attack.

“But the question is: will they believe him?” Virak added, saying there was a difference between social media statements and significant shifts in foreign policy.

Southeast Asia analyst Carl Thayer, meanwhile, said that while Vietnam was unlikely to be happy with Cambodia given its recent comments in support of China’s position in the South China Sea, to which Vietnam has a rival claim, Hanoi had a “sophisticated” foreign policy of attempting to balance competing interests and wouldn’t be surprised by Hun Sen’s growing ties with China.

“It’s not new. Vietnam isn’t currently waking up and finding Cambodia adopting a policy which is unexpected . . . they know they can’t change it,” Thayer said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia

  • Police arrest 29 Chinese for PP kidnapping

    Phnom Penh Military Police arrested 29 Chinese nationals on kidnapping charges on Wednesday. The suspects are said to have abducted three other Chinese nationals from a hotel in Chaktomuk commune, Daun Penh district. The operation took place on Wednesday and was led by two deputy commanders –