Cambodia bans Taiwan, Tibet flags in kowtow to China

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Cambodia’s long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen has released an order that the raising of the flags of Taiwan and Tibet is forbidden in the country in what is seen by critics as an ingratiation to Beijing and its “One China” policy which does not recognise sovereign rule of neither territory.

In doing so, Cambodia also backs China in land disputes and therefore does not recognise Taiwanese or Tibetan claims for the right to self-determination.

Critics say the major reason for the ban, which is in effect since February 4. is of economic nature. China is a key ally of Cambodia, one of Asia’s most impoverished nations. Beijing has provided millions of dollars in aid and investment over the past decade, granted it tariff-free status on hundreds of trade items, and written off debt. In return, Cambodia supports China in international forums, including in Beijing’s ongoing territorial disputes with other Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea.

On the other hand, Taiwan is also an important trade partner and investor in Cambodia. According to statistics released by Taiwan’s Finance Ministry, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Cambodia reached about $744 million in 2015. The country is also an important source of tourists with direct flights from Taipei to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Taiwan was unwilling to comment on the flag issue and resorted to a diplomatic response.

“The ministry will have no comment on the Cambodian prime minister’s related remarks,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang.

“As a sovereign, independent country, Taiwan is devoted to safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. It is willing to establish friendly and cooperative relations with countries in the region, including Cambodia, for mutual benefit,” Wang said, adding that “this policy has not changed.”

 

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Cambodia's long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen has released an order that the raising of the flags of Taiwan and Tibet is forbidden in the country in what is seen by critics as an ingratiation to Beijing and its “One China” policy which does not recognise sovereign rule of neither territory. In doing so, Cambodia also backs China in land disputes and therefore does not recognise Taiwanese or Tibetan claims for the right to self-determination. Critics say the major reason for the ban, which is in effect since February 4. is of economic nature. China is a key ally of Cambodia,...

Reading Time: 1 minute

Cambodia’s long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen has released an order that the raising of the flags of Taiwan and Tibet is forbidden in the country in what is seen by critics as an ingratiation to Beijing and its “One China” policy which does not recognise sovereign rule of neither territory.

In doing so, Cambodia also backs China in land disputes and therefore does not recognise Taiwanese or Tibetan claims for the right to self-determination.

Critics say the major reason for the ban, which is in effect since February 4. is of economic nature. China is a key ally of Cambodia, one of Asia’s most impoverished nations. Beijing has provided millions of dollars in aid and investment over the past decade, granted it tariff-free status on hundreds of trade items, and written off debt. In return, Cambodia supports China in international forums, including in Beijing’s ongoing territorial disputes with other Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea.

On the other hand, Taiwan is also an important trade partner and investor in Cambodia. According to statistics released by Taiwan’s Finance Ministry, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Cambodia reached about $744 million in 2015. The country is also an important source of tourists with direct flights from Taipei to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Taiwan was unwilling to comment on the flag issue and resorted to a diplomatic response.

“The ministry will have no comment on the Cambodian prime minister’s related remarks,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang.

“As a sovereign, independent country, Taiwan is devoted to safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. It is willing to establish friendly and cooperative relations with countries in the region, including Cambodia, for mutual benefit,” Wang said, adding that “this policy has not changed.”

 

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