As Cambodia’s first widespread outbreak of COVID-19 continues, lockdowns in the country’s capital are quickly creating an additional crisis that goes far beyond what’s necessary to control the virus.
Cambodia’s postponement of an important military exercise with its closest ally has more to do with the county’s foreign policy and shifting relations with Washington than COVID-19.
Malaysia has announced a partnership with Huawei as part of a push to become a regional leader in cybersecurity and increase the technical skills of its workers. Malaysia’s government appears unconcerned about Huawei’s reputational issues and the news comes amid ongoing cybersecurity controversies in Myanmar and Cambodia.
The Mekong’s normal flow can be restored if large volumes of water are consistently and reliably released from Chinese dam reservoirs. However, China’s water policy shows Beijing is unlikely to change its behavior and the worst for the Mekong is yet to come.
After years of delay, Cambodia began extracting oil for the first time in December 2020, signaling a new era for the country’s economy.
The US has placed conditions on its aid to Cambodia over the kingdom’s human rights violations and growing ties to China. The change is not likely to achieve any major changes unless the US comes with an offer that matches China’s commitment to the current regime in Cambodia.
A growing number of reports show that large-scale deforestation continues in Cambodia’s protected forests, often with tacit endorsement from government officials—despite promises of conservation.
A new theme park, “Angkor Lake of Wonder”, will be built next to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex by casino operator NagaCorp. The announcement raises concerns about impacts to the ancient seat of the Khmer empire, including the possibility of casinos and gambling.
ASEAN remains a key player in Southeast Asia’s diplomatic architecture. However, a growing debate on the expulsion of member states may divide the grouping deeply.
Two Cambodian rappers face charges of inciting social unrest as the government continues its crackdown on dissent. Their cases, like many others in Cambodia, show the reach of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarianism but also point to the growing role of hip-hop in social movements in Southeast Asia.