In another sign of Cambodia’s deepening affinity with China, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book on governance, which showcases the leader’s ruling philosophy, has been translated into Khmer to be used as a guide for the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday.
“The book will enhance knowledge in Cambodia of Xi Jinping’s ideas,” Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page following a ceremony to mark the translation’s release. “The book reflects Xi’s commitment to in-depth reform.”
Xi’s book The Governance of China is a compilation of excerpts of the leader’s speeches, interviews, and other correspondence. Contained in its pages are musings on topics such as national defence, ecological progress, combating corruption and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Over 6 million copies of the book have been distributed in 16 languages worldwide.
For Hun Sen, however, the book appears to be more of a how-to guide. During a speech yesterday, the Prime Minister said it is very important for Cambodians to read the book to improve their knowledge of good governance.
According to Miguel Chanco, a Southeast Asia analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit, the book’s translation is a sign that Hun Sen’s political allegiance is moving closer to China and away from the West.
“The gesture highlights how this growing relationship extends beyond developing trade and investment links,” Chanco wrote in a message. “Indeed, it underscores deepening political connections, especially those at a personal level between Hun Sen and Xi Jinping.”
During yesterday’s speech, the prime minister called China a “good and true friend”, and credited China with maintaining world peace. “In the globalisation process, China has been taking over the role of Western countries and promoting open free trade for sustainable development,” Hun Sen said.
The comments come shortly after Cambodia cancelled military exercises with the United States, expelled a US Navy humanitarian mission and accepted large loans and grants from China for projects such as a new sports stadium. China and Cambodia have also announced Beijing will support local journalism training.
According to political analyst So Chantha, Cambodia’s growing relationship with Beijing has been beneficial, but the government should be wary: “To balance the relations between giant countries, Cambodia has to strengthen its economics and politics and not depend on only one powerful country.”