Cambodian analysts have questioned the motive of the US State Departments unilateral decision to impose sanctions on the Union Development Group (UDG) of China, referring to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and an executive order of the US government.
Leap Chanthavy, a Cambodian political commentator and economic analyst said “The US action tantamount to punishing Cambodia for the forner’s grievances and trade war with China. The reasons given are shallow.
“Though here are cases of villagers claiming land and compensation, one who knows Cambodia will also be fully aware that that land disputes, claiming of designated development land is an epidemic in Cambodia and opposition politicians and the bleeding human rights organisations, local and international, climb on the gravy train to gain recognition and to give credence to their presence in Cambodia,” Chanthavy said.
He added that evidence should be furnished, incontrovertible and undisputable before such an action is taken.
“Furthermore, it is an issue between the United States and China and now the former is trying to drag other countries into its fray, especially small, developing and but geopolitically strategic country like Cambodia.
The sanctions defy logic and could lead to Koh Kong being deserted, thousands losing jobs, thousands of potential employment opportunities lost and the immense loss of value added development and benefits to the country as well as the local people in Koh Kong.”
He added that from imaginary naval base, first in Koh Kong, then in Ream, questions as to why Koh Kong needs an extra long runway are nonsensical and the US kept shifting its goal post to suit its geopolitical agenda and needs which in turn feeds its domestic agenda, particularly the looming November election.
The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh said in a statement that as is known to all, the Cambodian Dara Sakor resort is a large-scale tourism and entertainment project invested by the Union Development Group Co., Ltd., a private enterprise from Tianjin, China.
“The project is a comprehensive investment and development pilot zone approved by the Cambodian government. It is in full compliance with the laws and regulations of Cambodia and has made positive contribution to the economic and social development of Cambodia.
“The US sanction citing domestic law is a blatant hegemonic act. It completely ignores the facts and is based on unwarranted charges. The US suppression on the legitimate investment of a Chinese enterprise in Cambodia will not only harm the lawful rights and interests of the enterprise, but also trample on the sovereignty of Cambodia.”
Dara Sakor has a Code 4E International Airport that is currently under construction and estimated to operate by 2021. This would reduce the average travelling time within ASEAN to about 2-3 hours and about 4-5 hours within East and Northeast Asia. Khmer Times
The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia expresses its strong opposition and condemnation towards the US sanction. The Embassy further urges the US side to correct its wrongdoing and withdraw the so-called sanction.