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Hun Sen Warns Local Officials Off Taiwan

Prime Minister Hun Sen warned local government officials on Wednesday they would not be allowed to travel to Taiwan, nor any Taiwan officials to Cambodia.

“We cannot make any political or diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” Hun Sen said in public remarks to launch new decentralization legislation. “But we can make trade relations with Taiwanese people.”

Cambodia officially recognizes a one-China policy, which considers Taiwan a rogue province. There is no official office here for Taiwan, though there are some businesses.

“Businessmen will be allowed to come to Cambodia, and civil airlines company, private airline companies from Taiwan, EVA Air and China Air, can fly from Taipei to Phnom Penh, but not planes with Taiwanese flags,” Hun Sen said. “We won’t allow Taiwanese national flights into Cambodia.”

Cambodia has passed the Law on Administrative Management for Provincial, District and Municipal Councils, which allows commune councils to elect other councils for the three other levels of sub-national government. The first election will be held May 17.

Hun Sen’s speech was a warning to would-be members of these councils that though they would have some power outside of the central government, the central government would control foreign policy.

“Cambodian politicians will not be allowed to go to Taiwan,” he said. “And Taiwanese political officials will not be allowed in Cambodia, including members of parliament and presidential advisers.”