Hun Sen’s political gamble: The COVID-19 epidemic

While the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has caused troubles for many world leaders, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has used the epidemic as a political gambit to bolster his domestic and international image.

Domestically speaking, Hun Sen has played a high-stakes game by downplaying fear of the coronavirus to make the case to Cambodians that there is in an experienced sheriff in town and they have nothing to worry about with him at the helm.

Unlike Vietnam, Singapore and scores of other countries that have banned flights to and from China, Hun Sen has refused to do so, saying the Kingdom of Cambodia stands in solidarity with China in desperate times. He also refused to evacuate 23 Cambodian students trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of COVID-19, despite some criticisms.

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