Andrew Nachemson

The Southeast Asian nation signed at least nine deals with China last week on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum, but some analysts say it is likely political obedience to China will include military access.

Her trip underlines the similarities between two nations isolated from the international community over human rights abuses – and which are seen as loyal to Beijing, a position hampering the Southeast Asian bloc’s effectiveness.


Tenants turfed out of Phnom Penh’s low-income housing block the White Building, were told it would be redeveloped to house Cambodians. Instead, NagaCorp is planning a development to attract high-rolling Chinese gamblers.

Cambodia’s deal with China’s Union Development Group to build a tourism hub looks too good to be true. Sceptics say it is – and that its suspiciously long airport runway and deep water port are really meant to serve a military purpose

With no independent observers, ‘monitors’ who intimidate voters and ballot-stuffing all on the table, the prime minister appears to be competing only with credibility itself – and he’s losing.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh was a former leader returning to politics, but his severe injury in a head-on collision means Prime Minister Hun Sen is unable to give voters even the veneer of an honest election.

As Phnom Penh cracks down on political opposition, Tokyo keeps quiet to retain its influence and not cede ground to Beijing. Meanwhile, strongman Hun Sen cynically plays off the two powers for his own benefit.