|Cambodian Main Opposition Leader Sam Rainsey|
What Sam Rainsey has pleaded for help from China, echoes King Ang Duong's desperate appeal to France and other European powers to help Khmer from imminent threat of its two powerful neighbors--Vietnam and Thailand in the past. Almost 200 years later, today Cambodia has faced the same threat from the same enemies though Thailand's influence had totally wiped out since the French colonial time, instead Vietnam's influence has been rapidly growing especially from 1979 when it sent troops to invade Cambodia and installed its puppet regime to rule the country until today.
|Chinese President Xing Jiping|
Historically, Thailand patronage system in Cambodia over a century had encountered Vietnam's threat effectively. Khmer kings usually used Thailand's influence against Vietnam or vice versa. Now since Thailand is no longer a power player in Cambodia, Khmer leaders should seek a counter balance of power to thwart the Vietnamese neocolonizer. Now China is more likely the best match against the Vietnamese growing power over Indochina and Southeast Asia. This time is probably the final conquest of Hanoi if Khmer leaders can't find helpers on time, for Vietnam has its effective collaborator, Hun Sen, to coordinate its modus operandi of colonization.
What Sam Rainsey has called for help from China is a legitimate appeal since Cambodia is facing an imminent threat on her independence and sovereignty. Currently, Cambodia looks as if a drowned person, she must struggle to catch whatever that can lift her from drowning. Albeit Sam Rainsey has different political ideology from Chinese leaders, the main point is when the two countries share a common interest. President Franklin Roosevelt made an alliance with Stalin to defeat Hitler in WWII when he saw Hitler more dangerous than Stalin. Now Sam Rainsey may seek alliance with China, for it looks less dangerous than Vietnam.
|Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang|
Hun Sen's superficial alliance with China has politically benefited Vietnam too, for it can manipulate international community that Hun Sen is independent and free from Hanoi's pressure to exercise his own foreign policy, therefore Vietnam has nothing to do with what has been going on in Cambodia. Most foreign media as well as some diplomats regarded Hun Sen as if China's stooge rather than Hanoi's when he had brazenly deleted a South China Sea dispute issue from ASEAN's summit agenda in 2012 to appease China. Although Philippines strongly criticized Hun Sen's action, Vietnam--a fierce rival with China--refrained from criticizing Hun Sen publicly because it had struck a deal with Hun Sen behind a scene. Yet, Hun Sen kept China happy for a while when there is no guarantee in the future.
Then China has to swallow a reality. A recent exchanged visits of Japanese Hawki Prime Minister Shinzo Abe--another bitter rival with Beijing--to Phnom penh and Hun Sen to Tokyo along with Japanese warship's visit at Cambodian sea port made China a bit upset and suspicious about Hun Sen's loyalty. Furthermore, Chinese warship was never allowed to stop over at Cambodian sea port, and Hun Sen never let Chinese military personnel to join military exercise with their Cambodian counterparts even though Hun Sen has received large military aids from China over the past twenty years; instead he chose military cooperation with U.S. and Australia before he ordered to suspend it due to post-election crisis which created a high probability for military coup against his rule. All Hun Sen's actions seemed a covertly designed policy by Hanoi to thwart China's influence in Cambodia.
In economic front, despite China is the largest investor in Cambodia fallowed by South Korea and Vietnam respectively, usually Vietnam receives first priority or first grade investment in the country. Vietnamese companies and its de facto company, Sokimex owned by Tycoon Sok Kong, were granted more lucrative and valuable places to invest: Angkor Wat, the symbol of Khmer soul and identity, Borko Resort, the heart of Khmer nation, Prey Land, the largest natural forest in the country, and most rubber plantations over 100,000 hectares stretching from Mondol Kiri to Preas Vihear Province-- a big cash cow for Cambodian economy-- were controlled by at least 18 Vietnamese companies. All these special investment sectors have become the backbones of the Vietnamese economic power in Cambodia.
Despite Beijing may perceive that Hanoi has pushed Hun Sen to play unfaithful game with it, Sam Rainsey is still in an unfavorable position to convince China to support him. First, he is not officially a head of state or government; second, he has different political ideology from Chinese leaders; third, he did not give enough assurance that he is a future faithful China's ally either. However, If Sam Rainsey is seriously seeking relationship or strategic ally with China, It certainly will happen when CNRP get a chance to rule the country. Or a chance is still more likely to happen though he is not in power if Sam Rainsey openly shows his support all China major foreign policies regarding to one China policy involving with Taiwan, South and East China Sea disputes, and China's rightful claim over Tibet along with protection China investment properties in Cambodia.
Furthermore, Sam Rainsey or CNRP's officials must seek formal talks with Chinese diplomats from low level on to build mutual trust and search for more common ground. If Sam Rainsey can lure China to stand behind him, a mission to rescue Khmer nation will be more promising than the past when he solely has relied on the Western countries which, has produced fruitless result over the past 20 years since they hesitated to do thing that they should do. Many human rights groups and others have always criticized the Western powers who have been standing passive with the Hun Sen regime that has brazenly violated democratic principle, human rights and the rule of law that Hun Sen and his boss, Hanoi, had signed the Paris Peace Accord in 1991.
Historically, Vietnam's aggression toward Cambodia was encountered with its rival, Thailand, and then was thwarted by the French colonizer. But now Cambodia has no real protectors while Vietnam even has its more effective collaborator, Hun Sen, to help speed up its colonization process. Hun Sen's superficial alliance with China and Vietnam de facto patronage over Hun Sen will lead to destruction some days, as China and Vietnam are on a verge of armed conflict. When it happens, it will create an opportunity for Cambodia's survival again as the French had done for Cambodia in 1863.