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Cambodia dismisses US sanctions as “political motivation” | National

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (AP) —Cambodia dismissed Thursday as “political motive” sanctions imposed by the United States on two senior defense authorities on Graft’s allegations, with broader warnings of organized corruption in Southeast Asian countries. ..

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Cambodia had not been informed in advance of sanctions related to construction financing at the Ream Naval Base. This is a project that has raised US concerns about China’s involvement. He said Cambodia did not intend to respond to Washington.

“The sanctions imposed by the US government were unilateral and their decision was not based on the rule of law. It is unfair to Cambodia,” he told The Associated Press.

“These sanctions are a political motivation and it is not Cambodia’s position to discuss this issue with the United States,” he said.

The US embassy in Phnom Penh did not comment on whether Cambodia was in contact on sanctions, but said the move was not surprising.

“US authorities have regularly expressed concern to Cambodian authorities about organized corruption, cross-border organized crime and human rights violations,” said Chad Ledemeier, a spokesman for the embassy.

“Unfortunately, there were no meaningful changes,” he added.

Sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury on Wednesday target Chau Pilun, Secretary of Defense’s Department of Materials Technology Services, and Tea Vin, commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy and brother of Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Van. I have to.

The Treasury claims that in 2020 and 2021, Chow planned to collaborate with Tee and other Cambodian authorities to inflate the cost of the Ream Naval Base construction project and use the money for their own benefit. bottom.

“Chow and Tee are involved in the rule of law and corruption that undermines Cambodian public confidence in government agencies and public processes, including the use of political influence and public power for personal gain. “I was doing it,” said Ned Price, a US State Department spokesman. statement.

Neither the Cambodian Defense Ministry nor the Royal Cambodian Navy could immediately seek comment.

Sanctions disqualify Chow, Tee, and their close relatives from entering the United States and freeze assets in the United States. The Treasury did not elaborate on whether either the individual or his close relatives had an economic interest in the United States.

In addition to sanctions, the Treasury, State Department, and Commerce Department have issued business recommendations warning U.S. companies to “be aware of interactions with businesses involved in corrupt business practices, criminal activity, and human rights abuses.” ..

We have identified two major areas of risk. Illegal financial activity in the financial, real estate, casino and infrastructure sectors and the entities involved in human, wildlife and drug trafficking, and “related risks in some areas of the manufacturing and timber sector”.

The US relationship with the government of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in office for 36 years, has long been cold-hearted about concerns about the country’s poor record of human and political rights.

In recent months, the United States has expressed further concern about Cambodia-China relations and called on Cambodian leaders, who frequently support Beijing’s position, to maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy.

The new tensions are partially focused on building Chinese facilities at the Ream Naval Base, where the army may seek future base rights. Hun Sen strongly denied reports that Cambodia would allow China to set up a military outpost, saying such an agreement would be prohibited by the Cambodian constitution.

The base faces the Gulf of Thailand, adjacent to the South China Sea, and retaining base rights in Cambodia would significantly expand Beijing’s strategic military profile.

At a meeting with Hun Sen in June, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman expressed concern about the construction of a new facility in China in Reem.

She also sought an explanation for the demolition of two U.S.-funded buildings in Ream without notice or explanation, saying, “Cambodia’s (China) military base undermines its sovereignty, threatens regional security, and with the United States. We have observed that it has a negative impact on Cambodian relations. ” To the State Department.

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Cambodia dismisses US sanctions as “political motivation” | National

Source link Cambodia dismisses US sanctions as “political motivation” | National

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