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Respect principle of non-interference

Suos Yara / Khmer Times Share:
The U.S. Capitol Building. REUTERS/Zach Gibson

US senators need to respect Cambodia’s sovereignty in accordance with the fundamental principles of the UN charter, writes Suos Yara.

The “Cambodia Accountability and Return on Investment Act of 2018” Bill introduced by four US senators early this month seriously violates Cambodia’s sovereignty.

Sovereignty and non-interference are the core principles of international relations and Cambodia as a small state wishes to humbly advise the senators to study carefully the UN charter which spells out the principle of non-interference as a rule governing relations between member states.

Article 2(1) sets in stone the “principle of sovereign equality of all its members”. Article 2(4) of the Charter stipulates that “all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”

The principle of non-interference is a core value and the foundation of Cambodia’s foreign policy which the Kingdom and other nations stand firmly together to protect and promote, at any cost and under any circumstances.

The US should also study Cambodia’s constitution which emphasizes the “policy of permanent neutrality and non-alignment”. It states also that Cambodia “shall never invade any country, not interfere in any country’s internal affairs, directly or indirectly”.

On the other hand, domestic affairs within the US requires more urgent attention than meddling in Cambodia’s peaceful domestic affairs. The American people would be better served if the US senate can spend more time to address some of the most critical challenges facing the country at the moment such as gun violence, racism, political polarisation and weak political leadership, among others.

The US senate must keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” in democracy. Thus, American-style democracy cannot be transplanted or imposed upon other countries. A successful democratisation process in one country must reflect the national conditions of that country including its history, culture, political system and socio-economic situation. Cambodian values are not the same as American values.

Cambodian people can still remember clearly when the country was engulfed by civil war after Marshal Lon Nol ousted Prince Norodom Sihanouk in a coup in March 1970. Cambodia is hardly an exception. In fact, over the past five decades, the US continues to interfere in domestic politics in many countries in every corner of the world. The biggest problem is that the US does not seem to learn a lesson from its failed strategy. As a member of the international community, Cambodia sincerely hopes that the US would become a more responsible global power for the benefit of mankind.

In addition, the US needs to be informed that Cambodia has contributed to regional peace and stability in the South China Sea. It has for many times called for direct claimant states to resolve the territorial disputes in the South China Sea peacefully in accordance with international laws.

Cambodia has been supportive of the implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety and the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct. On the North Korean issue, as a responsible member of the international community Cambodia has issued statements condemning the long-range missile tests and called for a peaceful denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

Therefore we deserve to be treated equally and fairly. Cambodia is doing its best to build a more inclusive world order, in which every state regardless of size, status and power can fairly contribute to and benefit from global governance and the new world order.

Suos Yara is a CPP lawmaker for Preah Vihear province and a spokesperson for his party.

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