What’s the Cambodian Take on the War in Ukraine?

Speak to rand file Cambodians and they are largely anti the War in Ukraine. This is for a number of reasons, partly the whole flag in the Facebook profile was trendy, but also as a country they are verdantly anti-war, having gone through one of the worst conflicts and regimes in history.

This is not to say though that the country is fully in the western camp, with the situation not only being nuanced, but also being heavily related to the time of Democratic Kampuchea and the Khmer Rouge.

Who supported Democratic Kampuchea?

While very much following its own policies, such as the Super Great Leap Forward, Democratic Kampuchea was supported in the most part by China. In later years it also had the tacit support of the United States, particularly as the country was crumbling.

After this the Khmer Rouge started an insurgency which carried on way after the 1993 peace accords and while the US officially did not support the Khmer Rouge in reality they did.

Said support ended when the Khmer Rouge retreated into their last state, but people still remember that the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea was supported and financed bu the USSR/Russia.

To read about the last Khmer Rouge state click here

To reads about the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea click here.

Official Policy of the CPP

The official policy of the Cambodian Peoples Party, who recently won 125 out of 125 seats at the election is anti-war and therefore on the side of “the west”, but in actuality things are more nuanced.

Despite the election win, some western states have said the election was neither free, or fair and even called for sanctions. The problem is that while the main opposition were barred, they still won with a very popular mandate.

It also means that the west are stuck in the quandary of if they push the country too far on issues like this, then they simply risk pushing the nation into the arms of others, specifically Russia and its every growing block in what is quickly becoming Cold War 2.0, as the recent furore in Africa has shown.

Neutral Cambodia and the war in Ukraine

In actuality though the government of Cambodia are again showing that they are indeed neutral and prepared to be friends with everyone. Much as they often portrayed as “too close to China”, they in fact trade a lot with both east and west.

And so the same will happen with Russia. Cambodia will as always be anti-war, but it will retain its ties with the Russian Federation, as well as continuing to trade, be it publicly, or indeed in private.

Cambodia’s unique form of neutrality will not change merely on the whims of the west, particularly as the war is increasingly going in a direction that no one expected.

In essence policy and opinion will ultimately change depending on how long the war in Ukraine lasts and who are the end victors.