Cambodia’s Hun Sen defiant despite EU trade threat

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken a defiant stance against the EU, saying ‘Cambodia must be strong in its defense of its sovereignty.’ (Reuters)
Updated 08 October 2018
0

Cambodia’s Hun Sen defiant despite EU trade threat

  • The EU had launched a six-month review of Cambodia’s duty-free access to it
  • Cambodia’s exports to the European Union were worth €5 billion

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken a defiant stance following a European Union announcement last week that it would ramp up trade pressure on Cambodia over human rights concerns.
The European Union (EU) told Cambodia on Friday it will lose its special access to the world’s largest trading bloc, and said it was considering similar trade sanctions for Myanmar, adding that it was ready to punish human rights abuses in both countries.
The EU warned that it had launched a six-month review of Cambodia’s duty-free access to the EU, meaning garments, sugar and other exports could face tariffs within 12 months.
Speaking to Cambodian students on Sunday as part of a trip to Japan to attend a regional meeting, Hun Sen said Cambodia must defend its sovereignty. Hun Sen has held power for three decades.
“No matter what measures they want to take against Cambodia, in whatever way, Cambodia must be strong in its defense of its sovereignty,” Hun Sen said during a speech to students in Tokyo shared on his Facebook page on Sunday.
“I say it again and again: don’t exchange national sovereignty with aid, don’t exchange the peace of the country with aid,” he said.
He did not specifically comment on how the removal of trade privileges could impact exports.
The EU warned Cambodia in July that it could lose its special trade status after a general election that month returned Prime Minister Hun Sen to power.
Rights groups said the election was not fair because of the lack of a credible opposition, among other reasons.
The main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the country’s Supreme Court at the government’s request last year and did not take part in the election.
Many CNRP leaders have fled abroad and are in living in self-imposed exile.
Cambodia’s exports to the European Union were worth €5 billion ($5.8 billion) last year, according to EU data, up from negligible levels less than a decade ago.
Cambodia’s textile, garments and footwear industry are vital to its economy. Around 40 percent of its GDP comes from garment exports.
The garments sector employs more than 800,000 workers. The EU and US are the country’s primary markets for exports, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Reuters was unable to reach three workers’ unions for reaction on Monday. A government spokesman, Phay Siphan, was also unavailable to comment.
Cambodia is marking a national holiday from Monday to Wednesday this week with many offices closed.


Sri Lanka victims: Citizens of at least 12 countries killed

A Sri Lankan couple, whose family member was killed in a yesterday blast, leaves from a mortuary after identifying the body, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 22, 2019. (AP)
Updated 18 min 37 sec ago
0

Sri Lanka victims: Citizens of at least 12 countries killed

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: At least 290 people were killed in a series of nine bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Sri Lankan authorities say at least 30 foreigners died in the attacks. A look at some of the countries whose citizens were among the victims:
SRI LANKA: The vast majority of the victims were believed to be Sri Lankan citizens, many of them members of the island nation’s Christian minority. Names of many victims and other details on their lives were slow to trickle in and difficult to report, in part because Sri Lankan authorities blocked most social media after the blasts.
But among them was Dileep Roshan, 37, a carpenter who left behind a wife and daughter, his family told The Associated Press.
“His wife and daughter won’t be able to do much now because he is gone,” his older brother, Sanjeevani Roshan, said. “The real question is what will happen to their future.”
UK: Sri Lanka’s top diplomat in Britain says authorities know of eight British nationals killed in the bombings.
Among them were lawyer Anita Nicholson, son Alex Nicholson and daughter Annabel Nicholson, her husband, Ben Nicholson, confirmed in a statement. Nicholson said the family was on holiday, sitting at the table of the restaurant of the Shangri-la Hotel when they were killed. He said: “The holiday we had just enjoyed was a testament to Anita’s enjoyment of travel and providing a rich and colorful life for our family, and especially our children.”
INDIA: Indian officials say eight Indians died in the attacks.
DENMARK: The Bestseller clothing chain confirmed Danish media reports that three of the children of its owner, business tycoon Anders Holch Povlsen, were killed in the attacks. However, spokesman Jesper Stubkier gave no details in an emailed response to a query on the matter and said the company had no further comment.
SPAIN: Spain’s foreign ministry says a Spanish man and woman were killed but didn’t provide further details. The mayor of Pontecesures in northwest Spain, Juan Manuel Vidal, tells Radio Galega he knew the local pair and says they were in their 30s, according to a report by Spanish private news agency Europa Press.
AUSTRALIA: Australia’s prime minister says a mother and daughter from that country were killed. Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria were attending a church service in Negombo when they died.
CHINA: Chinese state media say two of the country’s citizens died in the blasts.
UNITED STATES: The State Department says at least four Americans were killed and several others seriously injured. It gave no details about the victims’ identities.
Fifth-grader Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, spending a year in Sri Lanka on leave from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., was among those killed, the school said in an email to parents, according to the Washington Post . The email said: “Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year.”
Dieter Kowalski, who lived in Denver and worked for international education company Pearson, died in the blasts shortly after he arrived at his hotel for a business trip, the company and his family told AP . A Friday Facebook post reads “And the fun begins. Love these work trips. 24 hours of flying. See you soon Sri Lanka!“
SWITZERLAND: The foreign ministry says two Swiss nationals, one of whom also had the citizenship of another country it didn’t name, died in the attacks. It said a third member of the family, who had two non-Swiss citizenships, also was killed. It didn’t identify the victims.
OTHERS: The Netherlands, Japan and Portugal have also confirmed their nationals were among the dead.