Opinion

Time to boot Cambodia out of ASEAN

Singapore ex-top envoy ignites firestorm by saying Cambodia could be expelled from bloc for serving as China’s proxy and disruptor.

Cambodia and Singapore are in a backchannel war of words over a retired Singaporean diplomat’s suggestion that Phnom Penh should be booted from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc if an external power is controlling its policies.  

As a thinly veiled accusation that Cambodia, as well as Laos, are dutybound to the whims and commands of China, both bloc members’ main ally and financier, the ex-official’s comment comes amid an intensifying rivalry between the US and China for leverage in the strategic region.

“True neutrality means knowing your own interests, taking positions based on your own interests and not allowing others to define your interests for you by default,” Bilahari Kausikan, a former permanent secretary of Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, said during an October 23 webinar hosted the by Singapore-based ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute.

In full: https://asiatimes.com/2020/10/time-to-boot-cambodia-out-of-asean/

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