Cambodia military – Cambodian Scene http://cambodianscene.com/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 04:44:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://cambodianscene.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/icon-2-120x120.png Cambodia military – Cambodian Scene http://cambodianscene.com/ 32 32 Why Cambodia’s military history is so important to national security – The Diplomat https://cambodianscene.com/why-cambodias-military-history-is-so-important-to-national-security-the-diplomat/ Fri, 22 Oct 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://cambodianscene.com/why-cambodias-military-history-is-so-important-to-national-security-the-diplomat/ Advertising As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, we would do well to recognize the importance of history, and in particular Cambodia’s military history, to the region and to the world. Cambodia’s history should be recognized as a national resource to inform the country’s strategic development, influence and leadership in the […]]]>

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, we would do well to recognize the importance of history, and in particular Cambodia’s military history, to the region and to the world. Cambodia’s history should be recognized as a national resource to inform the country’s strategic development, influence and leadership in the ASEAN region.

Military history has been described as the search for war and the analysis of victory and defeat; however, it also encompasses much more. Military history covers a range of topics from the rise and fall of regimes to the transformation of countries, and how humanity repeats and / or learns from its mistakes. Cambodia’s history is filled with unique teachings for the country, region and the world.

Cambodia was an important crossroads in the Cold War struggle between ideologies, political systems and foreign policy agendas. The history of Cambodia which has led to and includes part of the history of foreign interventions in the region shows how essential the country is to regional security, and the security of the region is to global security. Moreover, the mass atrocities, war and deprivation that marked so much of Cambodia’s history in the latter part of the 20th century provide important lessons on the conditions that precipitate and result from instability, war and genocide. Cambodia’s history is as much an illustration of the human spirit as it is a lesson in the depths of human depravity.

Cambodia’s history is also punctuated by numerous attempts by neighboring countries to encroach, occupy, and even usurp the territory of the Cambodian people. Studying the history of these past relationships, disputes and conflicts will not provide a roadmap for current or future diplomatic or military affairs; however, this story is a national resource that gives leaders strategic wisdom on how to manage relationships with neighbors and the world.

Cambodia’s history, and in particular its military history, provides an important resource for the development of strategic wisdom for the country, region and world leaders. Cambodia’s military history is instructive in how (and when) to exercise restraint wisely, when to be patient, and when to be bold in defense of national security. Cambodian military leaders can view Cambodia’s military history as a national resource to develop not only their own strategic wisdom, but also the professionalism of their organization and officer ranks.

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Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense of Cambodia (seated left), and his Special Advisor, General Nem Sowat (standing right), Lieutenant General Meas Sina (standing left) and Youk Chhang (seated). The group was visiting a proposed military history area near the Anlong Veng Peace Center in Oddar Meanchey province along the Cambodian-Thai border. Photo by Ly Kok-Chhay, March 6, 2020.

Cambodia’s national security depends on a professional military organization. Professional military organizations need competent leaders who are not only strategists but also historians, because no successful strategy can be developed without an understanding of history.

History shapes the building blocks of all successful strategies. Military history ensures that strategy is informed not only by the operating environment, current tactics and doctrine, but also by the successes and mistakes of the past. The story can provide insight into the acceptability of a strategy’s goals, the feasibility of methods to achieve those goals, and how predecessors used the same or different strategies in the past. Military history is a key component of all combined military and national security strategies.

Member states and the collective leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also need leaders who are both historians and strategists. Cambodia’s military history is particularly important to the peace and security of the region, as many battles, struggles, and geopolitical strategies centered around Cambodia’s military history.

Cambodia has been a key center of gravity during the various wars, conflicts and struggles that plagued the region in the 20th century. Following the First Indochina War, Cambodia became independent, and during the Second Indochina War Cambodia was the epicenter of one of the largest aerial bombardments in world history. Cambodia’s geopolitical situation during the Second Indochina War made it a critical battleground between various competing actors.

During 1975-1979 the Cambodian people also suffered unspeakable tragedy under the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, and although the Khmer Rouge were overthrown from power in 1979, Cambodia continued to struggle against war, famine and humanitarian crises resulting in the death, displacement, or resettlement of millions of Cambodians. The defeat of the Khmer Rouge was not only a strategic victory for Cambodia; it was a strategic victory for ASEAN and the world.

The military engagements, maneuvers and strategies that took place in Cambodia between 1979 and 1993 reverberated throughout the region, and to some extent many of these forces shaped (and still shape) the geopolitics of ASEAN today. hui. Cambodia’s military history is a history not only of military battles and maneuvers, but also of key political decisions and strategies that today remain important references to inform national security and ASEAN’s collective strategy in the Southeast Asia region.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords, we should take the opportunity to reflect not only on what we need to learn from the history surrounding these accords, but also how much we can learn from all over the place. history of Cambodia. The significance of this story has perhaps never been greater than it is today, as Cambodia prepares to assume the presidency of ASEAN in 2022.

As Cambodia prepares for its tenure as the rotating president of ASEAN, we must recognize this upcoming leadership role as an opportunity to leverage, among many other resources, Cambodia’s history to inform development, the collective partnership and leadership of the Cambodian peoples and ASEAN. Cambodia’s history is integral to the vision of collective peace and security for the ASEAN region.

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Ministry of Defense – Radio Free Asia https://cambodianscene.com/ministry-of-defense-radio-free-asia/ Wed, 21 Aug 2019 07:00:00 +0000 https://cambodianscene.com/ministry-of-defense-radio-free-asia/ Acting Chairman of the National Rescue Party of Cambodia (CNRP) Sam Rainsy will be arrested by the military after setting foot inside Cambodia, Defense Minister Tea Banh said on Tuesday, urging the leader of the opposition in exile to call on the security forces to “light their guns” their superiors in revolt. Last week, the […]]]>

Acting Chairman of the National Rescue Party of Cambodia (CNRP) Sam Rainsy will be arrested by the military after setting foot inside Cambodia, Defense Minister Tea Banh said on Tuesday, urging the leader of the opposition in exile to call on the security forces to “light their guns” their superiors in revolt.

Last week, the CNRP announced that Sam Rainsy and several other senior party officials would return from exile to Cambodia on November 9 to coincide with the 66th anniversary of Cambodia’s independence from France, despite threats from Prime Minister Hun Sen to imprison them.

Sam Rainsy recently pledged to lead two million Cambodian migrant workers working in Thailand, South Korea, Japan and other countries when he returns from exile to lead what he says is a restoration of the democracy in the authoritarian nation of Southeast Asia.

Late Tuesday, Tea Banh told RFA’s Khmer service in an interview that he had already ordered soldiers across Cambodia to prepare for Sam Rainsy’s return and arrest him “on his arrival” next month.

“We will not allow Sam Rainsy to cause a chaotic situation in the country,” he said, adding that “the soldiers stationed at the borders will handcuff him” as soon as he tries to enter Cambodia.

“We will take him to jail. We must protect the country. We will not allow him to destroy it.

Sam Rainsy left Cambodia in late 2015 to avoid what are considered politically motivated convictions for libel and other charges, but continued to actively lead the CNRP in exile.

In early June, he announced that he had agreed to return to the country by September, but returned last week, claiming his announcement was aimed at “misleading” Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in power.

On Tuesday, Sam Rainsy urged the military to ignore Tea Banh’s orders and “stand up to the regime” to save Cambodian democracy.

“I believe the military will turn their guns on the dictator and his group,” Sam Rainsy said.

“It is a historic chance for Cambodians to revolt against the dictatorship.”

Authorities arrested CNRP chairman Kem Sokha in September 2017, and Cambodia’s Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP and banned 118 of its elected officials from politics two months later for his alleged role in a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

These measures were part of a wider crackdown by Hun Sen against the political opposition, NGOs and independent media that paved the way for his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to win the 125 seats in parliament in the country’s general elections in July 2018.

Speaking to RFA on Wednesday, political analyst Kim Sok noted that the Cambodian military cannot arrest Sam Rainsy because only the country’s judicial police can execute a court order, and suggested that the minister’s comment Defense was meant to be a show of force.

“Tea Banh wants to let it be known that Hun Sen has been preparing his troops for a long time,” he said.

Tea Banh’s statement came after CPP spokesman Sok Ey San told RFA he did not believe Sam Rainsy would return to Cambodia on November 9, calling the opposition leader “cowardly.” and chicken ”and threatening to arrest anyone accompanying him to his house.

CNRP arrest

Meanwhile, Cambodian authorities first invoked the 2017 Supreme Court ruling to arrest a former CNRP official in Kampot province, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), who requested his release Monday.

Authorities arrested 63-year-old Nuth Pich on August 17 for allegedly disobeying a court ruling that dissolved the CNRP after he helped organize rallies of former elected officials and party activists for Khmer noodle meals in April and May.

Nuth Pich went into hiding on May 17 after the Kampot Provincial Court issued an arrest warrant for him, but he emerged from his hiding place in early August and returned home, mistakenly believing he was safe. to do so, and was promptly arrested and charged with discrediting court decisions, inciting criminal acts and inciting discrimination.

In Charge Nuth Pich, the court said it was acting on the basis of the Supreme Court ruling that dissolved the CNRP and banned 118 party leaders from formally participating in political activities for five years.

On Monday, HRW called on Cambodian authorities to “drop all political charges” against Nuth Pich and “release him unconditionally”.

“The Cambodian authorities have embarked on contortions to find charges against Nuth Pich, who has only exercised his fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at HRW.

“This is just the latest act of baseless harassment against a former member of an opposition party.”

Repression in progress

Since the start of 2019, authorities have summoned more than 147 CNRP members and supporters across the country for questioning, HRW noted, calling on the governments concerned to demand “the immediate and unconditional release of former opposition members and activists. arbitrarily detained ”.

“The Cambodian government’s crackdown on opposition parties did not end with the Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the CNRP, but only got worse,” said Robertson.

“The appalling silence of the EU, US and other foreign donors whenever a former CNRP leader is arrested should end now. “

Speaking in response to HRW’s statement, Justice Department spokesman Chin Malin told RFA that the charges against Nuth Pich were based on law.

“Whenever action is taken against former CNRP activists, HRW always claims it is politically motivated,” he said.

“However, our authorities are only enforcing the law.”

Nuth Pich’s son Sun Theany told RFA on Wednesday that guards working for the Kampot Provincial Court recently allowed him to see his father for the first time since his arrest.

Sun Theany said his father’s hair had been cut short and his health was deteriorating due to the cramped quarters he was being held in, adding that he had asked Nuth Pich’s lawyer to seek bail .

Reported by the Khmer service of RFA. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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Focus on Vietnam-Cambodia military relations with the visit of the Minister of Defense – The Diplomat https://cambodianscene.com/focus-on-vietnam-cambodia-military-relations-with-the-visit-of-the-minister-of-defense-the-diplomat/ Sat, 05 Jan 2019 08:00:00 +0000 https://cambodianscene.com/focus-on-vietnam-cambodia-military-relations-with-the-visit-of-the-minister-of-defense-the-diplomat/ Asia Defense The interaction highlighted some of the ongoing priority areas for the defense relationship heading into 2019. Advertising Last week, a high-ranking Vietnamese defense delegation visited Cambodia. Although the engagement was only one of several between the two sides, it nonetheless highlighted some of the ongoing activity on the side of defending relations between […]]]>

Asia Defense

The interaction highlighted some of the ongoing priority areas for the defense relationship heading into 2019.

Last week, a high-ranking Vietnamese defense delegation visited Cambodia. Although the engagement was only one of several between the two sides, it nonetheless highlighted some of the ongoing activity on the side of defending relations between the two countries in the context of their policies. national and foreign respective.

As I have already noted, Vietnam and Cambodia share a defense relationship that both sides tend to characterize as a pillar of their wider diplomatic relations. Bilateral defense ties span several aspects, from Vietnam providing the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) with equipment, training and assistance to joint management of more sensitive areas of the relationship, such as the unresolved issues on their common 700-mile border.

In recent weeks, the defense relationship has once again made headlines with the visit of a high-ranking defense delegation to Cambodia. The delegation, led by Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, paid an official visit to Cambodia that lasted December 27-29 at the invitation of his counterpart, Tea Banh, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister Minister.

The visit had a mixture of symbolic and more substantial interactions. Lich met various Cambodian officials, including his counterpart as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen, and also paid a visit to the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia. He and the Vietnamese delegation also participated in other ceremonial activities, including the laying of wreaths at the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Monument.

As is customary in meetings involving the two defense ministers, the two sides assessed the state of their bilateral defense relations as well as the opportunities and challenges they face. They also discussed areas for future collaboration in 2019, with the two defense ministers signing an agreement on some of the key elements of defense cooperation in the new year. According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense, during Lich’s meeting with Hun Sen, they discussed some areas where defense cooperation could be advanced in the future, including information dissemination and education. troops, personnel training and delegation exchanges, joint border management and exchange, and the search and repatriation of the remains of Vietnamese soldiers in Cambodia during the war years.

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Unsurprisingly, few additional details have been made public on the specific activities the two sides are planning for 2019, which typically involves a mix of general continuity and incremental changes in key areas. As the year progresses with its mix of planned activities and ongoing developments, we can expect the emerging form of Vietnam-Cambodia defense collaboration to take shape.

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Cambodia: army and police campaign for ruling party https://cambodianscene.com/cambodia-army-and-police-campaign-for-ruling-party/ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 07:00:00 +0000 https://cambodianscene.com/cambodia-army-and-police-campaign-for-ruling-party/ (New York) – Cambodian army officers, gendarmes and police are actively campaigning for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), in violation of Cambodian law requiring political neutrality, Human Rights Watch said today ‘hui. Cambodia is holding national elections on July 29, 2018, amid a context where the opposition Cambodia National Relief Party (CNRP) was dissolved, […]]]>

(New York) – Cambodian army officers, gendarmes and police are actively campaigning for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), in violation of Cambodian law requiring political neutrality, Human Rights Watch said today ‘hui. Cambodia is holding national elections on July 29, 2018, amid a context where the opposition Cambodia National Relief Party (CNRP) was dissolved, its president Kem Sokha was arrested and its founder Sam Rainsy was forced into exile.

Senior members of the security forces have supported Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP at numerous public rallies and other events across Cambodia. Article 9 of the Law on the General Status of Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (ARC) states that “military personnel shall be neutral in their duties and professional activities, and the use of duties / titles and military equipment. the state for political purposes activities are prohibited.

“To win a bogus election, it is not enough for the ruling CPP to ban the opposition, control all electoral institutions and maintain a grip on the media,” said Brad Adams, director of Asia. “Apparently the CPP thinks it must also deploy some of the country’s most feared generals to campaign and intimidate people into going to the polls.

To win a bogus election, it is not enough for the ruling CPP to ban the opposition, control all electoral institutions and maintain a grip on the media.


Asia Director

According to local media, since the start of the official campaign period on July 7, General Sao Sokha, acting supreme commander of the Cambodian army, has campaigned for the CPP, participants told participants on July 8 in a pagoda. Buddhist of Kandal Province that “under the wise leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, our country has developed all over the country, including roads, bridges, canals, schools, hospitals , etc.

  • General Hing Bun Heang, who was recently sanctioned for human rights violations by the United States under the Global Magnitsky Act, addressed around 1,000 teachers at a CPP rally on 8 July. peace across the country under the able leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen as head of government and chairman of the Cambodian People’s Party, ”and called on those gathered to vote for the CPP.
  • Lieutenant-General Rat Sreang, deputy commander of the national gendarmerie and commander of the Phnom Penh gendarmerie, led a CPP team on July 8 in Phnom Penh to “explain to the people how to vote correctly”.

Human Rights Watch received reports of numerous other senior security officials campaigning for Hun Sen and the CPP before the official campaign period began on July 7, in violation of Cambodian law:

  • General Hun Manet, son of Hun Sen, who was recently promoted to acting commander-in-chief of the RCAF, campaigned for the CPP on July 2.
  • ARC deputy commander-in-chief General Meas Sophea inducted CPP members and called for an electoral victory for the CPP as he campaigned in Preah Vihear province on June 15.
  • Chap Pheakdey, deputy army commander and commander of the 911 brigade, campaigned for the CPP and Hun Sen in Svay Rieng province on June 17.
  • Kun Kim, deputy supreme commander of the RCAF, campaigned for the CPP in Oddar Meanchey province on June 23 and 26.
  • ARC Supreme Commander Pol Saroeun made a campaign trip to Preah Sihanouk province and fielded the CPP candidates for election, with himself at the top of the list, on June 24 and again on July 1 .
  • Chuon Sovan, Deputy Supreme Commissioner of the National Police, chaired the CPP campaign in Pea Reang district of Prey Veng province on June 16.

The CPP’s slate of candidates for election seats includes senior military, gendarmes and police officers on active duty who have helped maintain Hun Sen’s reign since he became Prime Minister in 1985. These are in particular of Pol Saroeun, Meas Sophea and Kun Kim, as well as Lieutenant-General Dy Vichea, deputy chief of the national police force and son-in-law of Hun Sen.

Guidelines promulgated in 2016 by the Venice Commission and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights state that “the non-involvement of judges, prosecutors, the police, the military and of political contestants’ listeners in their official capacity in the election campaign is of essential importance. . Concrete measures should guarantee this official neutrality throughout the electoral process.

“Basic democratic principles require the political neutrality of the military and police for elections to be free, fair and credible,” Adams said. “But nothing in this election is democratic, so it’s no surprise that the CPP uses senior commanders as ruling party activists. Foreign governments that have poured billions of dollars into Cambodia over the past decades to promote democracy should protest this blatant abuse of the electoral process.

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What does Hun Sen’s new military aid to Cambodia really mean? – The diplomat https://cambodianscene.com/what-does-hun-sens-new-military-aid-to-cambodia-really-mean-the-diplomat/ Fri, 02 Mar 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://cambodianscene.com/what-does-hun-sens-new-military-aid-to-cambodia-really-mean-the-diplomat/ Asia Defense There seems to be a lot less than it looks. Advertising This week, shortly after the White House officially announced a series of cuts in aid to the Cambodian government on February 27, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen made headlines when he bragged about a new influx of arms into the Southeast Asian […]]]>

Asia Defense

There seems to be a lot less than it looks.

This week, shortly after the White House officially announced a series of cuts in aid to the Cambodian government on February 27, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen made headlines when he bragged about a new influx of arms into the Southeast Asian state. While there actually appears to be a lot less than it appears here, Hun Sen’s bragging nonetheless fits into a larger pattern where the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has strengthened its ties of defense with China to bolster its national legitimacy as it nears elections in July.

As I have noted repeatedly in these pages, Cambodia has a long and solid defense relationship with China, with Beijing being the largest donor of military aid and posing few questions than some Western countries, including states. -United and Australia, argue about the worsening of the country’s rights record (see: “The truth about competition between the United States and China in Cambodia”). In recent years in particular, Beijing and Phnom Penh have further strengthened their ties in this area, notably with new exercises and commitments. The two countries held their first naval exercises in 2016.

Unsurprisingly, this trend continued in 2018, with the two countries commemorating 60 years of bilateral ties and Cambodia preparing for general elections in July. As we move closer to these polls, the Hun Sen government has attempted to consolidate its authority, cracking down on opposition groups and severing elements of its ties with certain Western powers, even as the CPP has strengthened ties with China (see: “Why has Cambodia just degraded its military ties with the United States again?”). In December 2017, for example, during a visit to Cambodia, General de Division Zhao Tianxing, commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Defense Force and Artillery Academy, said China will help further strengthen Cambodia’s military facilities in terms of personnel., equipment and training.

So it’s no surprise when Hun Sen appeared to be pushing Beijing’s new military assistance again this week, even as Washington cut back on aid to Cambodia. Speaking to thousands of factory workers in Kampong Speu province, Hun Sen boasted about the importation of thousands of tons of weapons that had occurred overnight. He did not specify the country of origin, although few people knew he was referring to China. Although he did not provide many details, he spoke of “up to 10,000 tonnes … of ammunition and weapons” transported in containers in shipments which were under the responsibility of the Cambodian Minister of Defense. , Tea Banh.

Hun Sen’s statements were widely reported in the local media. But their imprecision, as well as his penchant for hyperbole, made it difficult to verify the details of what he really meant. In particular, Hun Sen’s way of talking about military equipment – which he called “confidential” and “special goods” – gave the impression that they were secret gifts provided for defense. National Cambodia by China in response to US actions, and so some media have described it.

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Subsequent details, however, cast doubt on the influx of arms as a timely geopolitical development. Ministry spokesman Chum Socheat reportedly confirmed shortly after that the equipment was in fact an expected delivery in accordance with a military exercise the two countries were already scheduled to hold in mid-March. As I noted before, both sides already suggested in January that the next iteration of Golden Dragon would take place this month as part of the 60th anniversary commemoration of Sino-Cambodian relations in Phnom Srouch district in Kampong Speu province, where Hun Sen was speaking (see: “What will the next China-Cambodia military exercise look like?”).

If so, this appears to be another case of Hun Sen playing on existing Chinese military aid, both to bolster the legitimacy of the CPP amid deteriorating ties with Western states as its authoritarian descent continues, as well as to stress that the Cambodian army continues to be strengthened with help from Beijing to secure both the country and the ruling party. This is not the first time the Prime Minister has done this and it certainly will not be the last. It’s worth keeping in mind if we see more headlines in this direction in the months to come and beyond.

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Cambodian army investigates plot against Hun Sen https://cambodianscene.com/cambodian-army-investigates-plot-against-hun-sen/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 07:00:00 +0000 https://cambodianscene.com/cambodian-army-investigates-plot-against-hun-sen/ PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The Cambodian military is investigating a suspected plot against Prime Minister Hun Sen, a defense ministry official said on Wednesday amid growing political tension in the Southeast Asian country . Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen prepares for the opening session of the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016. […]]]>

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The Cambodian military is investigating a suspected plot against Prime Minister Hun Sen, a defense ministry official said on Wednesday amid growing political tension in the Southeast Asian country .

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen prepares for the opening session of the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016. REUTERS / Damir Sagolj

The military investigation centers on a man who announced his intention to overthrow Hun Sen in Facebook and YouTube videos and called on others to join his cause, the ministry spokesperson said. Defense, Chhum Suchat.

“Authorities are investigating and looking for him,” Chhum Suchat told Reuters. He identified the man as Vichea Som but declined to give further details.

News of the plot comes a day after a senior US human rights official urged Cambodia’s political rivals to resume negotiations amid a “deteriorating situation”.

In the video, the man identified by the ministry as Vichea Som is dressed in a suit and tie with a camouflage background visible in the footage.

He did not identify himself but accused Hun Sen’s government and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party of being behind massive land grabs in one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries. East. He also accused the government of high-profile killings and human rights violations.

“In the near future, please, all forces must be ready against the dictatorial regime,” the man said.

He did not specifically call for a coup or threaten to stage a coup in the music video.

It was not known where he was speaking from, but he said he was from a “unit” based in southwestern Cambodia.

The Facebook page with Vichea Som’s name showed the same man. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via Facebook.

Hun Sen has ruled with an iron fist for over 30 years, beating any challenge to his authority, but he faces a young electorate who seems increasingly hungry for change.

In recent months, tension has grown between Hun Sen and an opposition hoping to challenge his hold in next year’s local elections and general elections in 2018.

Several opposition members and activists have been jailed in what they say is a government crackdown aimed at silencing critics ahead of the election.

On July 10, Kem Ley, a prominent activist and frequent critic of Hun Sen, was assassinated in the capital Phnom Penh.

A suspect was arrested and police said they believed Kem Ley had been killed because of debt. Activists believe his murder was political.

The United States has called for a credible investigation. The European Union and the United Nations have expressed concern over political tensions.

Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Robert Birsel

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