Cambodia’s foreign ministry has condemned former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who called for military officials to resist the government.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation condemns in the strongest terms the conduct of the convict Sam Rainsy for his call for mutiny and his perilous statement,” a statement from the ministry reads.
Cambodia also urged the international community not to interfere in its internal affairs and respect its sovereignty.
In a series of messages posted on social media in recent weeks, Rainsy, the former president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party, called on the people and armed forces to take action for what he called "positive change" in 2019 and also urged the international community to draw a similarity between Prime Minister Hun Sen’s regime and Venezuela.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Rainsy's appeals an insult to Cambodians and 19 other political parties that took part in the July 2018 general elections, where the ruling Cambodian People’s Party won all 125 parliamentary seats.
“The calls are mere incitements and instigation for the convict’s greediness for power,” said the statement. “The Royal Government will by all means oppose and counter any attempts and third-party interventions to destabilize and ruin our homeland and the happiness of our people. We will defend our nation at all cost against such maneuverings.”
The government has labeled Rainsy's comments "political terrorism".
In a defiant message on Saturday, Rainsy continued to call on the people to rise up and recover land lost to the current “corrupt authorities and unscrupulous businessmen and companies.”
He promised to alleviate the heavy debts of Cambodian families and cancel the land, forest and mining concession leases granted for up to 99 years to foreign companies. He said he would redistribute the recovered assets to Cambodia’s landless farmers, or put those assets back into the public domain to serve the common good.
Rainsy is currently living in exile abroad. He has repeatedly said that he will return to Cambodia this year.
“We will confiscate the ill-gotten fortune of the Hun Sen family and their cronies -- who currently control Cambodia's economy -- and use the money to reimburse the debts of poor Cambodian families and set up a wide and modern network of social services to promote social justice,” he wrote on his Facebook page.