If international relations experts and scholars want to study a small state’s diplomatic manoeuvres amid the ever-changing geopolitical landscape, they should make Cambodia their case study. With a new prime minister, Hun Manet, now in charge, the question remains: Will he be able to keep up with his father’s multipolar politics?
Despite being one of the last countries to join Asean, Cambodia has been playing a big boy’s game when it comes to geopolitics — a game in which Hun Manet’s predecessor, Hun Sen, excelled.
According to Chheang Vannarith, president of Asia Institute, Cambodia’s foreign policy has been shaped by Hun Sen’s worldview, which isn’t confined or influenced by a great power (such as China or the United States) and/or the competition between said powers. He said that as a small, developing country, Cambodia, as well as other members of the Global South, would benefit most from omnidirectional diplomatic engagement and multipolar alignment.