Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Hun Sen and Shinzo Abe Want in the Visit

Hun Sen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The Japan-China dispute Island Senkakus
By Khmer Wathanakam

There are two central themes that the two leaders, Hun Sen and Shinzo Abe want during the two-day visit in Cambodia.  Shinzo Abe naively asked Hun Sen, a close Chinese Ally, to support his effort in dealing with China on an altercation over an uninhabited island Senkaku while Hun Sen scares to dead to talk about a dispute over Kah Tral with Hanoi.  However, it is a fresh remind for Hun Sen to learn that this how a sovereign country conducts its foreign policies even a small uninhabited island is still very value for them, but Hun Sen's foreign policies involved with national sovereignty with the neighboring countries is totally submissive especially with Vietnam.  On the other hand, when Hun Sen's new unilateral created government is in question about its legitimacy, Hun Sen sees Abes's visit as a stamp of approval of his new dubious government.  To avoid criticism from Mr. Abe over election rig, Hun Sen pretends to ask him for Japan's expertise on the next election.

Japan and China fierce confrontation over a dispute island of Senkaku is fuelled by both historical animosities and nationalism.  Japan annexed this unclaimed island in 1895 when China maintained that this island is part of its "inherent" territory over hundreds of years.  A tangible value of this island is not much important to both countries but heavy political and historical value.  The New conservative Japanese Prime Minister Abe relentless effort to thwart Chinese aggression over Japanese claimed sovereignty seems produce little fruitful result but add more tension to the region while many countries in the region have already faced a rigid pressure from China over the South China Sea dispute that pushed Hun Sen into an awkward position in his clumsy foreign policies.  Last year, during ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen eerily made most ASEAN members dismayed  and upset even his own patron Hanoi over a controversial code of conduct in dealing with China on the dispute of South China Sea when he tried to appease China which is a main bank rolled supporter of his regime.  Now he seems make China a bit upset when he verbally supports Japan's policy dealing with China on the dispute based on  maritime and international law.  Coincidentally, is Hun Sen brave enough to confront with Hanoi over Kah Tral based on this maritime and international law?

On the other motif that Mr. Abe discussed with Hun Sen is an election reform and a negotiation with the opposition to end a current election dispute.  Albeit Mr. Abe seems already recognize Hun Sen as a winner, But he insisted Hun Sen to work with the opposition and to seriously reform the election system in order bring a more acceptable result in the future.  In response, Hun Sen tried to play down with Mr. Abe by ignoring the current crisis and asked Japan to send more experts to help reform and monitor in the next election.  In this scenario, Hun Sen is likely to ask Mr. Abe to bypass the current crisis and focus on the future election; it is Hun Sen's "fait accompli"-- Every thing is over no matter what, it is irreversible.  But if Hun Sen has a political will to make election system more acceptable and fair for all, he doesn't need to ask any more foreign experts for help but to work with the opposition to find mistakes and flaws before recommending for reform.  Most democratic countries in the world don't need election monitors from outside, but they make their election system though less than perfect but more acceptable and fair to all parties.  We don't have to mention about the US or EU but look at Thailand, Indonesia, and Philippine; they don't need outside monitors, and they rarely have election dispute because their election system is very independent and fair to all parties.  It is unrealistic for Hun Sen to ask foreign experts to monitor the election while he already created a fraudulent system.

The recent Japanese Prime Minister visit in Cambodia has nothing to be surprised but just a regular diplomatic mission of a foreign dignitaries to search for their own interest in the region while they are facing some problems that affect their own interest and a regional security.  And it is unwise for Mr. Abe to to team up with Hun Sen in dealing with an uninhabited island dispute with China when Hun Sen is scared to dead to talk about Kah Tral dispute with Hanoi.  And Hun Sen already has his masters lined up behind him--Hanoi and Beijing which are quietly sharing their interest on the expense of Cambodia.  Nevertheless, it is a suitable time for Hun Sen when he is badly needing foreign governments to approve his new dubious government that produced from a rigged election that the opposition are demanding an independent probe but fiercely rejected by Hun Sen without reasonable explanation. 

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