US arms embargo symbolic shot across Cambodia’s bow

Washington’s announcement last week of a new arms embargo on Cambodia over its growing military ties with China is the latest symbolic punitive response to an ever-worsening downtrend in bilateral relations.

From Washington’s perspective, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s increasingly authoritarian government has not only choked political and human rights but has also become a Beijing lackey. The US believes Phnom Penh has secretly agreed Chinese troops may use its military bases.

From Phnom Penh’s perspective, the US has unfairly singled out Cambodia and has disseminated misinformation about a supposed secret deal to allow Chinese soldiers to station on Cambodian soil, which if true would violate the nation’s charter.

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