The Factors Affecting Cambodia's Foreign Policy

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Cambodia’s foreign policy becomes more essential within the context of increasing regional tensions and unpredictability. It even determines the future development of the country. Anyway, without having a right decision and direction in foreign policy making, it risks becoming a doll of geopolitical game between major powers. In addition, history informs us that without national unity and neutrality, we fall into war and conflict.
To understand any country’s foreign policy, it needs at least to comprehend the basic conditionally and shaping factors. For Cambodia its foreign policy is rooted in geopolitical realities, nationalism, historical memories and, economic condition. Moreover, there are three main factors that shaped Cambodia’s foreign
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As for the factors shaping Cambodia’s foreign policy, internal factor is the most important. Domestic political conditions and dynamics directly affect foreign policy. Different political parties and interest groups have different priorities and approaches in directing foreign policy. The two big political parties (CPP & CNRP) have different interests and objectives in the making of foreign policy. Such trends put Cambodia in a more fragile and vulnerable position especially within the context of increasing geopolitical competition between major powers in the Asia-Pacific. One more thing, the most challenging task for Cambodia therefore is to develop and strengthen its domestic core, which consists of national unity, social and political consensus, strong democratic institution and, leadership capacity. Without having a strong core together with pragmatism, Cambodia risks being trapped into major power’s game. The ongoing political deadlock, political polarization, and social fragmentation are weakening the domestic core and damaging national interest. The whole nation is paying a high price for such political…show more content…
Historically, Cambodia failed to uphold these principles due to changing national and international circumstances and complexities. Cambodia fell into the Indo-China War in late 1960s. From 1970 to 1991, the power politics of major powers overshadowed and dominated Cambodian domestic politics and foreign policy. It totally lost its independence and neutrality. The end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of conflict settlement and peace building in Cambodia, which led to the signing of Paris Peace accord on October, 23rd 1991. After the general election in 1993 under the auspices of the United Nations, national sovereignty and independence were restored. National economic development and poverty reduction became the core objective of foreign policy and international cooperation. From 1999, especially after becoming an official member of ASEAN, Cambodia’s foreign policy focuses on ASEAN, major development partners, and international institutions. In addition, there are four core national interests defined in the contemporary Cambodia’s foreign policy: sovereignty and territorial integrity, security and political stability, economic development and poverty reduction, and identity-image building. Located between the two big neighbors (Thailand & Vietnam), the question of sovereignty and territorial integrity historically and geopolitically is at the core of both domestic politics and foreign policy. However, after joining ASEAN and the increasing

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