Cambodia Arrests Opposition Leader, Accusing Him of Treason

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

Kem Sokha was arrested at his home in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, early Sunday. His daughter said his whereabouts were unknown. CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The leader of Cambodia’s main opposition party, Kem Sokha, was arrested early Sunday at his home and accused of treason for participating in what the government said was a Washington-backed plot to undermine the country’s leadership.

A top official for Human Rights Watch in Asia called the arrest a “disastrous setback” for Cambodia as its long-ruling authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen, consolidates power in advance of elections scheduled for next year and marked a further deterioration in its relations with the United States.

Mr. Kem Sokha took over as the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party earlier this year, after his longtime predecessor, Sam Rainsy, who is living in exile, resigned from the post after being pursued in several criminal cases.

Mr. Kem Sokha’s daughter, Kem Monovithya, who also is a party official, said more than 100 police officers arrested her father and his bodyguards without a warrant. A video posted on Facebook showed Mr. Kem Sokha wearing handcuffs as he was escorted into an unmarked sports utility vehicle by officers wielding AK-47 assault rifles.

Kem Sokha and all bodyguards are taken away by 100-200 police without warrant after they raided his home,” she posted on Twitter shortly after his arrest. “We don’t know where they take him.”

Continue reading the main story

Late Sunday, she said, her father had been taken to a remote prison on the Vietnamese border known as CC3 and was being held without access to a lawyer.

The government said it had evidence that Mr. Kem Sokha was involved in a secret plot and had conspired with foreigners to damage the country. “The above act of this secret conspiracy is treason,” the government said in a statement.

Although Mr. Kem Sokha has parliamentary immunity, the government said he could be arrested without a warrant because he was caught committing treason “in flagrante delicto.” As evidence, it cited a four-year-old video of Mr. Kem Sokha, in which he says in a speech that he received advice from the United States on building an opposition movement.

Arend Zwartjes, a spokesman for the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh, had no comment about the accusations by Cambodia that Washington had conspired with Mr. Kem Sokha. But he said that the government had noted the arrest “with grave concern,” adding that the charges “appear to be politically motivated.”

Founded in 2012, the Cambodia National Rescue Party poses the first genuine challenge in years to Mr. Hun Sen’s rule. In an interview with The New York Times in June, Mr. Kem Sokha said he hoped his party could win parliamentary elections next year and effect a peaceful transfer of power.

“The bottom line is that the people have already decided for change,” he said. “That is, they have already made up their mind, and if the ruling party is in some way preventing that change through free and fair elections, the international community needs to use all the leverage they have to counter that in order to avoid violence.”

Speaking to a group of garment workers on Sunday, Mr. Hun Sen reiterated the accusation that Mr. Kem Sokha had conspired with the United States. A similar claim was made on the official Facebook page of the prime minister’s son Hun Manith, a two-star general and head of military intelligence for the Cambodian Army. “Kem Sokha betrayed Cambodia,” he wrote, adding that he confessed “to long term plans with the United States of America.”

David Chandler, a professor emeritus at Monash University in Australia who worked as a United States Embassy official in Phnom Penh in the 1960s, said that the situation in Cambodia had become “genuinely scary” in recent months.

He said that Mr. Hun Sen has long been suspicious of Washington’s intentions and believes that a strong element of United States policy is regime change.

“I can’t see why or how Hun Sen will turn back from where he seems to be headed,” Mr. Chandler said, “and I don’t think he wants to.”

In recent weeks, Mr. Hun Sen’s government has cracked down on independent news outlets and democracy advocates, after local elections in June in which the opposition party made unprecedented gains.

An independent newspaper owned by an American family, The Cambodia Daily, said it would halt publication on Monday because of a dispute over a tax bill of more than $6 million, and at least 15 radio stations have been ordered to stop broadcasting programming from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

The government also ordered the expulsion of the National Democratic Institute, a pro-democracy nonprofit organization that is loosely affiliated with the Democratic Party of the United States.

It has become common in recent months for Cambodian officials to accuse the United States of hypocrisy and interference in Cambodian affairs. A government spokesman, Phay Siphan, denied any tensions with the United States, however, describing the recent developments as “a coincidence” and proof of the government’s commitment to rule of law.

Mr. Kem Sokha’s arrest was quickly condemned by opposition leaders and international human rights activists.

“The arrest of Kem Sokha is a disastrous setback for Cambodia’s human rights situation,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

He urged other nations to put pressure on Mr. Hun Sen. “The international community, which provides a major percentage of the Cambodian government’s annual budget, should put Hun Sen on notice that if he doesn’t reverse course, it will be impossible to consider next year’s elections free and fair,” he said.

The arrest also drew fire from Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, an association of members of Parliament from Southeast Asian nations.

Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament and chairman of the organization, said the arrest violated the immunity protection that should be afforded Mr. Kem Sokha as a member of Cambodia’s Parliament.

“With national elections on the horizon, it is clear that this is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to crush the opposition before the campaign even starts,” Mr. Santiago said. “For months, we have been witnessing the escalation of government attempts to cripple the opposition, but it appears now that Prime Minister Hun Sen is so afraid of what might happen in a genuine vote, he won’t allow for competition at all.”

China: 122 fraud suspects repatriated

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS/SHINE)

 

122 fraud suspects repatriated

China Is Playing The U.S. And The World For Fools Over North Korea And Putin And Iran Are Assisting

 

 

The President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping and his Communist Party leadership are playing the U.S. Government and the rest of the world for ignorant fools concerning North Korea’s little fat boy with the stupid haircut. This week there was a meeting in Manila, the capital of the Philippines of the Asian countries and a huge part of the conversations were about how the governments of China and their Ally North Korea are a huge danger to all of Asia and to the rest of the world. Also this week the U.N. Security Council voted 15-0 to increase sanctions on North Korea because of their missile program. China and Russia voted for the sanctions against North Korea yet I find it very difficult to believe anything that the leadership in China or Russia have to say. It is said that North Korea exports about three billion dollars of products each year, mostly raw materials. These new sanctions is said to chop off about one billion of that three billion cash influx to the North Korean Regime. This income goes to the State, meaning it goes to Kim Jong Un who in turn spends most of that cash on his military and his missile program. The new sanctions did not include the oil that China and Russia sell to North Korea. The U.N. says that almost all of the oil sold to North Korea by China and Russia are on an  ‘IOU’ basis.

 

Now I would like to speak with you about why I say that China is playing the U.S. and the rest of the world for fools. It is no secret that the leaders of China and Russia have no love loss for the Western Nations and especially for the U.S.. Only and idiot (Donald Trump) would believe that these folks are our friends as Mr. Trump has said of Mr. Jinping and he seems to have a love affair with Mr. Putin. For those who pay attention you should notice that the mobile launching vehicles are the property of China. One should also notice that the rockets now being fired by North Korea look exactly like China’s rockets. The free worlds security agencies say they are surprised at the rapid advancement of North Korea’s missile program, it is obvious that they are getting help from another government and it is pretty obvious who that country is. The more the U.S. engages with North Korea the less the world focuses on the atrocities and the aggressiveness of China and Russia. The countries of Asia are worried about the aggressiveness of China as the Summit in Manila laid bare. North Korea was bumped to the number two concern to these Countries. If the world does not reign in the Communist Leadership of China they will soon totally dominate all of Asia, and that does include India and the leaders of India know this. Mr. Putin had better not trust the Chinese governments hunger for land but honestly I do not believe that Mr. Putin is that big of a fool as he knows well the methods that one larger country takes over another country while saying it belonged to them anyway.

 

For those who were paying attention to this sort of thing, North Korea’s #2 Official is currently on a ten-day visit to Tehran Iran. These two Countries have two total different ideologies concerning how they look at the world. Iran’s it based in total religious hatred of everyone whom is not a devout Shiite Islamic, North Korea is all about the hatred inside the brain of their crazy little fat boy with the horrible haircut. China is quickly positioning themselves to be the worlds biggest most powerful military led country in all of Asia and the Pacific theater .  Kim Jong Un has always had the desire to make the whole Korean Peninsula into one Korea with himself as the Ruler. If China, North Korea and to a smaller extent Russia could run the U.S. Military out of that region all of the other smaller countries will fall to China’s domination and many of the Asian Countries realize it. Unfortunately there are some countries leaders in the region who are being bought by China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ project like Cambodia and the Philippines. Sri Lanka is a Nation who excepted the ‘help’ from China to help build up their infrastructure with Chinese loans at high interest rates and now China is demanding repayment before the construction is even finished as the economic benefits have not yet started to flow in. Countries will lose their own right to rule themselves because of this pariah in Beijing. All a person has to do is to pay attention to the realities on the ground, it does not take a genius to figure these things out and the Lord knows the U.S. does not have a genius in the Oval Office.

Vietnam Urges Stronger Stand Against China At ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTAN DAILY TIMES)

 

MANILA: Vietnam urged other Southeast Asian nations to take a stronger stand against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, as a tense regional security forum began Saturday with North Korea also under fire over its nuclear program.

Ahead of the launch of the annual gathering of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam made a bold play against China with a raft of suggested changes to a planned joint communique.

It set the stage for what was expected to be a fiery few days of diplomacy in the Philippine capital, with the top diplomats from China, the United States, Russia and North Korea set to join their ASEAN and other Asia-Pacific counterparts for security talks from Sunday.

The meetings will take place as the United Nations Security Council votes this weekend on a US-drafted resolution to toughen sanctions against North Korea to punish the isolated regime for its missile and nuclear tests. The United States said it would also seek to build unified pressure on the North at the Manila event — known as the ASEAN Regional Forum — and Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Pyongyang would receive a strong message.

But on the South China Sea dispute — one of Asia’s other top powder keg issues — there was far less consensus with Vietnam resisting efforts by the Philippines to placate Beijing, diplomats told AFP.

Vietnam on Friday night sought to insert tough language against China in an ASEAN statement that was scheduled to be released after the Southeast Asian ministers wrapped up their own talks on Saturday.

According to a copy of a draft obtained by AFP, Vietnam lobbied for ASEAN to express serious concern over “construction” in the sea, in reference to China’s ramped up artificial island building in the disputed waters in recent years.

Vietnam also wanted ASEAN to insist in the statement that a planned code of conduct for the sea with China be “legally binding”, which Beijing opposes.

The lobbying occurred when the ASEAN foreign ministers held unscheduled and informal talks late on Friday night.

“The discussions were really hard. Vietnam is on its own to have stronger language on the South China Sea. Cambodia and Philippines are not keen to reflect that,” one diplomat involved in the talks told AFP.

China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea, including waters approaching the coasts of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

China has in recent years expanded its presence in the sea by building the artificial islands, which are capable of holding military bases.

Alongside Vietnam, the Philippines used to be the most vocal critic of Beijing’s expansionism.

But, under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines has sought to downplay the dispute with China in return for billions of dollars in Chinese investments and aid.

China has in recent years also successfully lobbied other ASEAN nations, particularly Cambodia, to support its diplomatic maneuvering in the dispute.

At the ASEAN opening ceremony on Saturday morning, Cayetano confirmed there had been strong debates on Friday.

“You have to excuse my voice as, my colleagues, we kept each other up until almost midnight last night. In the true ASEAN way we were able to passionately argue our national interest,” Cayetano said.

Various diplomats said that Vietnam was likely to lose its battle to insert the strong language against China, with the Philippines as host of the talks wielding greater influence.

ASEAN is set to this weekend endorse a framework for a code of conduct with China, which is meant to pave the way for more concrete action.

 

 

Published in Daily Times, August 6th 2017.

A Final Glimpse of Cambodia’s Iconic Phnom Penh White Building Before Its Demolition

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES AND RADIO FREE ASIA)

 

A Final Glimpse of Cambodia’s Iconic Phnom Penh White Building Before Its Demolition

Bird’s-eye view of White Building, July 14, 2017. Photo and caption by Radio Free Asia / Vuthy Tha

This article is reposted with permission from Radio Free Asia. The article featured photos of Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building days before it was demolished.

Radio Free Asia

This iconic 54-year-old apartment building with an open sky bridge often caught the attention of artists, dancers, and photographers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. But now it is being torn down.

The government plans to develop the area into a 21-story multi-purpose complex under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession with Arakawa, a Japanese company, at a project cost of $80 million.

The White Building was originally called the Municipal Apartments and was inaugurated in 1963 as a low-cost housing complex. Over the years, it transformed into a notorious slum and crime area, where prostitutes, heroin addicts, nuns, students, children and business owners lived side-by-side.

The building was originally designed by Cambodian architect Lu Ban Hap and a Russian-born architect Vladimir Bodiansky as part of the then-King Norodom Sihanouk’s vision for new Khmer urban transformation. Consisting of six blocks where 493 families resided, the building is located in the Tonle Bassac neighborhood along Sothearos Boulevard, just a couple of blocks away from Cambodia’s National Assembly and Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ buildings.

Only trash and some leftover sheets, pillows and tables are now seen inside the building. Nevertheless, seven families who owned apartments in the building remained defiant as they refused to abandon their apartments and accept ‘lower-than-market-price’ compensation, while other residents from four families residing along the right of way within the building complex also decided not to abandon the building before the demolition which began on 17 July, 2017.

View of White Building complex, July 14, 2017. Photo and caption by Radio Free Asia / Vuthy Tha

Piles of household belongings and trash next to a wall bearing campaign material of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, July 14, 2017. Photo and caption by Radio Free Asia / Vuthy Tha

A household shrine with incense sticks stands in front of one of the apartments in the White Building, July 14, 2017. Photo and caption by Radio Free Asia / Vuthy Tha

Defiant residents sleep on one of the sky bridges in the White Building, July 14, 2017. Photo and caption by Radio Free Asia / Vuthy Tha

Defiant residents who refuse to leave their apartment are seen sleeping inside their blocked apartment, July 14, 2017. Photo and caption by Radio Free Asia / Vuthy Tha

World leaders for Silk Road talks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

World leaders for Silk Road talks

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held from May 14 to 15 in Beijing and President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony and host the round table summit of the leaders, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday.

Xi has championed the “One Belt, One Road” initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe, a landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects.

China has dedicated US$40 billion to a Silk Road Fund and the idea was the driving force behind the establishment of the US$50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Among those attending will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will also be attending the forum.

British finance minister Philip Hammond will come as Prime Minister Theresa May’s representative, while Germany and France will send high-level representatives.

Wang confirmed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the leaders coming, along with the Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Serb and Polish prime ministers and Swiss and Czech presidents.

“This is an economic cooperation forum, an international cooperation platform that everyone is paying attention to, supports and hopes to participate in,” Wang said.

“One Belt, One Road is to date the most important public good China has given to the world, first proposed by China but for all countries to enjoy,” said.

“The culture and historical genes of One Belt, One Road come from the old Silk Road, so it takes Eurasia as its main region,” he said, adding that representatives of 110 countries would attend the forum.

A section of the New Silk Road is in Pakistan, where some projects run through the disputed Kashmir region.

Wang dismissed concerns, saying the Pakistan project had no direct connection to the dispute and India was welcome to participate in the New Silk Road.

“Indian friends have said to us that One Belt, One Road is a very good suggestion,” he said.

During the forum, China is expected to sign cooperative documents with nearly 20 countries and more than 20 international organizations, Wang told reporters.

China will work with countries along the route on action plans concerning infrastructure, energy and resources, production capacity, trade and investment, which will help to turn the grand blueprint into a clear roadmap, he said.

Another task of the forum will be to push forward delivery of cooperative projects, Wang said.

During the forum, parties will identify major cooperative projects, set up working groups and establish an investment cooperation center.

China will also work with all parties on a set of measures that will include improved financial cooperation, a cooperation platform for science, technology and environmental protection, and enhanced exchanges and training of talent.

Participants will sign financing agreements to support their cooperative projects, Wang said.

China will use the forum to build a more open and efficient international cooperation platform; a closer, stronger partnership network; and to push for a more just, reasonable and balanced international governance system, Wang said.

China’s Version Of Cooperation With Other Asian Countries In The South China Sea

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Asian, China code for sea encounters

LEADERS from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China issued a joint statement yesterday on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea.

The statement was issued after the two sides held the 19th Asia-China Summit in Laotian capital Vientiane and commemorated the 25th anniversary of relations between Asia and China.

The document reaffirmed commitment to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of Asian Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC, including the importance of the freedom of navigation and overflight.

It said the two sides recognized that maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea region serves the fundamental interests of Asian member states and China as well as the international community.

The joint statement recognized that Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and China are members of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium and have adopted CUES.

CUES, as a coordinated means of communication to maximize safety at sea, offers a means by which navies may develop mutually rewarding international cooperation and transparency, according to the document.

Leaders from the two sides reaffirmed in the statement their commitment to CUES in order to improve operational safety of naval ships and naval aircraft in air and at sea, and ensure mutual trust.

The document said the leaders agreed to use the safety and communication procedures for the safety of all the naval ships and naval aircraft, as set out in CUES, when they encounter each other in the South China Sea.

Premier Li Keqiang said relations between China and Asia have made great strides and promoted regional peace, stability and prosperity.

China and Asia have valued the development and cooperation of the principle of mutual respect, understanding, trust and support since 1991, when they established the dialogue relations, he said.

“The past 25 years have seen growing mutual trust and pragmatic achievements made between China and Asia,” he said yesterday.

The premier added that China has always regarded Asia as an important force in safeguarding regional peace and stability and in promoting regional integration and world multi-polarization.

Li also pledged to give Asia a priority in China’s drive to develop its relations with neighboring countries.

He said China will support the building of an Asian community, Asia’s central role in regional cooperation, and its growing part to play in international and regional affairs.

China is willing to work with Asian nations to cement the strategic communication between the two sides, advance the 2+7 cooperation framework, and energetically promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said.

Asian leaders, who praised the amazing achievements the two sides have made in the past 25 years, echoed the premier’s thoughts and expressed confidence for their relations in future.

Asian leaders said the development of relations with China would benefit Asian nations and are conducive to building an Asian community.

Asia is ready to cement the relations and tap new potential in promoting mutual political trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, and expanding people-to-people and cultural exchanges with China, they said.

They looked forward to lifting China-Asian relations to a new level to promote regional peace and development.

In the ceremony held at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Li and Asian leaders watched a short film chronicling China’s growing relations with Asia in the last quarter of a century and looking into their bright prospects in the future.

Li and Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith also inaugurated a handbook titled “25 Years of Asian-China Dialogue and Cooperation: Facts and Figures.”

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose country is the coordinator of China-Asian relations, joined them to cut a commemorative cake.