Hun Sen Says Taiwan Can’t Reopen Office

Prime Minister Hun Sen last week repeated the government’s support for Beijing’s one-China policy and said that a Taiwanese representative office would not be reopening in Cambodia.

“I have expressed again and again about dealing with Taipei only in commerce, tourism and in­vestment. But now there are people trying to open a Taiwan office in Phnom Penh to benefit themselves,” the premier said Thursday at the Cambodiana Hotel, where he spoke at a conference on tourism.

“I would like to say briefly, ‘No!’” Hun Sen continued. “We have supported only the one-China policy.”

Taiwan repeatedly has angered Beijing, which considers the is­land a rebellious province, by be­having as an independent state for decades. Beijing’s one-China policy denies Taiwan’s sovereignty.

In 1997, then-second prime minister Hun Sen shut down the Taipei Economic and Cultural Of­fice. Phnom Penh municipal au­thorities alleged the office was “responsible for terrorism,” much to the pleasure of the Chinese Embassy.

At the time, Hun Sen had also charged certain Taiwan­ese companies with giving military aid to then-first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Meanwhile, international ob­servers suggested that Hun Sen was trying to cozy up to Beijing for obvious and practical reasons: Investment and development aid.

Hun Sen on Thursday called for the arrest of the unnamed par­ty he said is trying to cheat Tai­wan­ese people with promises of re­opening its office. “If police find them, please invite them to Prey Sar [prison]…. I am the person who shut [Taiwan’s office]. Why would I reopen it?” he said.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanarith said Sunday that the party trying to renew ties between Cam­­bodia and Taiwan is un­known. Only Taiwanese would be able to identify them, as the Cambo­dian government has no diplomatic relations with Taipei.

Funcinpec spokesman Kol Pheng said Monday he did not know about Hun Sen’s com­ments on Taiwan and de­clined to answer further questions.

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