In Cambodia, Japan Digs in to Keep China’s Rise in Check

Cambodia is also seeking to boost the number of annual Japanese arrivals to 300,000 next year while Chinese tourists made up to one third of Cambodia’s 6.2 million foreign visitors last year.

Phnom Penh – When western governments were busy condemning a sweeping political crackdown in Cambodia that saw the ruling Cambodian People’s Party win all of the seats in parliament during a poll last year, Japan remained tight-lipped.

There have been calls for Japan, one of the kingdom’s main donors and chief architects of the peace deal 28 years ago that ended the civil war, to condemn the Cambodian government over its crackdown on critics, opposition politicians, and media outlets critical of the regime.

But Japan chose not to act, with China cited as the reason. Amid its political break from the west, the Cambodian government, led by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, has been seen as relying more and more on Beijing for political and economic support.

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