China supports Cambodia’s ban on main opposition party

US has cut funding for next year’s election, saying it ‘will not be legitimate, free or fair’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 November, 2017, 11:59am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 November, 2017, 11:59am

China supports Cambodia’s efforts to protect political stability and believes it will hold elections next year, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Cambodian counterpart on Monday.

Cambodia’s Supreme Court banned the country’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), last week at the request of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government in a move that prompted the United States to cut election funding and threaten more punitive steps.

The European Union has also threatened action.

The CNRP was banned after its leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested for alleged treason. The government said he sought to take power with American help. Kem Sokha rejected that allegation, saying it was politically motivated and designed to allow Hun Sen to extend his more than three decades in power in next year’s general election.

US calls on Cambodia to ‘undo’ ban on opposition party

The US has said that election “will not be legitimate, free or fair”.

Meeting on Monday on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe foreign ministers meeting in Myanmar, Wang told Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhon that China supported the government’s actions.

“China supports the Cambodian side’s efforts to protect political stability and achieve economic development, and believes the Cambodian government can lead the people to deal with domestic and foreign challenges, and will smoothly hold elections next year,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.

China has repeatedly expressed its support for Cambodia, making no criticism of the government led by Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander, who is one of Beijing’s most important allies in Southeast Asia.