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Royal University of Phnom Penh Institute of Foreign Languages

Department of International Studies

Cambodia - The United Nation


May 25, 2012

DIS E4.1

Cambodia Foreign Policy

Written by:

PHALA SOCHEATAMONY, SAY Vortana, Sourng Kanhawat

RUPP, IFL, DIS

Cambodia Foreign Policy

Since the establishment of the United Nation in 1954, the worlds perception has switched gradually from traditional security to the non-traditional security. Furthermore, states have shifted their policy from isolated to engagement in the regional and international organization. After gained the independent from France in 1953, Cambodia submitted the request for the UN membership, and she actually was accepted in 1955. From a war-torn country that received aids from the United Nation, Cambodia has proudly contributed to various activities of the United Nation. This article seeks to provide and analyze the current relation between the United Nation and Cambodia. What are the current Cambodias Foreign policies toward the United Nation? Finally, this article attempts to address the current topic, Cambodia bids for non-permanent member of the United Nation Security Council. In order to understand on the relation between Cambodia and the United Nation we should first focus on the question why Cambodia decided to join the united nation in 1955. First of all, we should go into detail on the on the level analysis on the Cambodian policy in engaging to the UN at that time. First, in the international context, there are huge waves of independence movements, and much evidence had shown that the colonial system was soon to collapse, thus legitimacy is very essential in the international affair. Furthermore there is also the shift of the area of focus. As can be seen, starting from the end of the WWII, the world is currently facing a new era, which is the cold war, and South East Asia is also one of the focusing areas. It is the era of the neutrality movement. During the time of the cold war in order not to lean to the USA side or the USSR side, there were groups of state that proclaim them as neutrality, which is neither democracy nor communism. Second it is the regional context. During the 1950s there were many activities within the region such as the rise of a new communist bloc China, which increase interest of the USA to involve in South East Asia in order to block the spread of communist. Third, It is the domestic context. During that time Cambodia was a newly independence country, and the only way to protect the sovereignty through Legitimacy. Cambodia was sure that by joining the UN we would be acknowledged as a sovereign state in the international arena. In addition, Cambodia was sure that by having the admission to the UN we would be able to rise up our face internationally. All in all, these were the major factors that influence the decision of Cambodia to join the UN. 1|Page

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Cambodia Foreign Policy

Throughout the year of membership UN and Cambodia relationship is not quite close until the UN intervention to Cambodia in 1991. In fact, it wasn't the UN own initiative to intervene to Cambodia, but it was an initiative from the ASEAN to the vote in the UN. Through out two meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia- JIM I and JIM II the four factions in Cambodia decided to accept the intervention from the UN, and after the Paris Peace Accord in 1991 the UN therefore attained legitimacy with the consent of the factions and established the United Nation Transitional Authority in Cambodia in the same year. It is crucial to have the two elements of Legitimacy and consent, so that the mission can be successful (mersiades). Now it comes to the effective of the UN mission in Cambodia. Normally in such kind of conflict resolution, there are three major steps that would take place. First it is the peacemaking process. Peacemaking refers to the effort to create a peace. Cambodia is facing with military and militia clashes mainly by the four factions, thus in order to stop the fighting the UNTAC has created a specialized organ called the United Nation Advanced Mission in Cambodia to seek for the permanent cease fire between the faction. Next, after the peace making process is completed, it is the peacekeeping process. Peacekeeping refer to the effort in creating a permanent peace. In order to have a permanent peace a legitimate government has to be formed, so the UN decide to create an election. After the four factions decided to stop the fighting and come to negotiate, and all of the factions agree for the idea of creating a legitimate sovereign through election. The Khmer Rouge factions anyhow retreat from the election and constantly violating the ceasing fire agreement (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1993), thus lead to issue even to the date of actual voting. As a result a joined government between the Cambodian People Party (CPP) and the FUNCINPEC party. Finally, after peace had been made and kept it is the process of peace building. Peace building is an effort to improve the permanent peace with the improvement of human security. Human security refers to the protection of "the vital core of all human lives in ways that enhance human freedoms and fulfillment" (United Nation Truste Fund For Human Security). After the election in 1993 the situation in Cambodia is still in Jeopardy due to the aggressive of the Khmer Rouge and the confrontation between the two parties in the joined government, thus the peace building process is limited, and it comes to the sabotage in 1997 during the street fighting. However after the unification the UN then come back to their program in 2|Page

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Cambodia Foreign Policy

Cambodia. The UN has work on almost every field ranging from economic development to education in Cambodia. Furthermore, Cambodia has also made a small alter on the UN Millennium Development Goal (DMG), and created there own model called Cambodian Millennium Development Goal (CMDG), which is one more, compared to the latter. The only different is the mine clearance since mine limited the availability of land for agriculture or for the economic or social concession. All in all, even though there are some small problems, the UN has been quite a success in helping Cambodia. What are the current Cambodias Foreign policies toward the United Nation? Cambodian foreign policy toward UN focus on three main areas such as promotes peace and stability; promote human security and socio-economic development. Regarding to promoting peace and stability, Cambodia has shown great changes from a war-torn country to a country proudly contributes to the UN peacekeeping. According to Cambodian prime minister speech Cambodia has been transformed from a war-torn nation gratefully receiving assistance from the UN forces to one which now proudly contributes to UN peace-keeping missions in other troubled nations in Lebanon, Central Africa, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan. (Royal Embassy of Cambodia, 2012), Cambodia now is an important state in the international stage by contributing to peace keeping mission in order to show the world that Cambodia is no longer the weak country. Besides playing the role in peace keeping operation, Cambodia as the Chair of ASEAN summit in 2012 is playing a critical role in South China Sea conflict and the Korean Peninsula. Because these two issues are very sensitive and need to solve peacefully; therefore, Cambodia is trying to play a role as the mediator for this two issues (Relations, 2012). Concerning South China Sea problem, during the ASEAN summit in Cambodia back in 2002, Cambodia was the country who proposed the the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in order to lessen the tension between the claimants (Relations, 2012). Here again, in 2012, as the chair of ASEAN, Cambodia propose a new draft of the Code of Conduct (COC) in dealing with SCS conflict. In addition, the Korean peninsula is also in the agenda of ASEAN summit which our prime minister urged for the resume of the six party talks between the concerned parties (Relations, 2012). Cambodian foreign minister Hor Namhong is schedule to visit North Korea in June hoping to lobby North Korea to agree to the six party talks. The second 3|Page

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area of Cambodia foreign policy toward the UN is focus mainly on the promotion of human security. In order to promote the living standard of the people, first Cambodia has to fight against the corruption; therefore, Cambodia National Assembly approved on anticorruption law on March, 11 2010. Moreover, Cambodia now is also trying to promote gender equality in the government office position by increasing women in the office. Last but not least, since human right record in Cambodia is not good, Cambodia is working with various NGOs in Cambodia both local and international to promote human right. For the third area, Cambodia is committed to the United Nation eight millennium development goals, however for Cambodia we add one more goals which is de-mining and victim assistance because many Cambodian suffered from the landmine and it is the cause of poverty in Cambodia (UNDP, 2010). We can see that Cambodia is the only countries that can achieve the millennium development goal according to the World Bank report. The two areas that we can successfully achieve are child mortality rate and combat HIV/ AID, malaria and other disease whereas the rests are slowly upgraded (UNDP, 2010). Cambodia takes great pride in submitting itself as a candidate for the United Nations Security Council, and Cambodia is seeking election for a non-permanent seat allocated to the Asia regional group for the two-year period running from January 2013 to December 2014 (HE. Hor Nam Bora, 2012). Is it accident that the royal government of Cambodia decided to bid in 2012? In this article argues that this is not an accident that the Cambodian government chose 2012 to bid for the non-permanent member of the UNSC. As can be seen in the international context, ASIA pacific has become diverse and complex than ever before. Superpowers have shifted their foreign policy toward this region in hope for gain certain interests. For instance, after the fall of the Soviet Union, there were those in the U.S. government who urged a re-focusing of U.S. strategy toward the Pacific. Plus, China and India are two of the fastest-growing economies on Earth and the nations of Southeast Asia also grew behind the shield of U.S. presence in the region. The United States also has deep, lasting alliances with nations in the region including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. (Jim Garamone, 2012) Furthermore, ASEAN, a regional organization, has been actively engaged the major powers to the region through various activities such as ASEAN+1, 4|Page

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ASEAN+2 and ASEAN+3. For those super powers, similar to Vietnam War, proxy war, ASEAN is a proxy-influence which acts as a platform for super powers to gain their interests. Thus, Cambodia could see the significant of her Geo-politic as strength. Another international evolution in this contemporary is the ideas of equality and equity that have been deeply rooted in every country especially developing countries. The gap between the north and the south has been a hot topic decades ago. Those south bloc states attempt to seek statuses in international affairs, and these acts have been supported. Cambodia would be a representative developing state in the UNSC. In the regional context, Cambodia became the chair of ASEAN in 2012 again for the second time since 2002. Being chair of ASEAN in this contemporary is more critical and valuable than before because ASEAN plays great role in engaging power countries to discuss global issues in this region. For instance, Obama spent his time came to Indonesia joined the East Asian nations on 17 November, 2011. (VOA Voice of America, 2011) So Cambodia could use her status as chair of ASEAN to seek for support from super power states and others which join ASEAN events. In domestic context, in order to gain more popular, the government attempts to boost up socio-economic development and prestige in the global. Furthermore, the government would like to shift the attentions of the citizens from local issues such as land grabbing, human rights violation and so on to the bid of the nonpermanent member of the UNSC. What are the strategies that the royal of Cambodia use in this campaign? First, Cambodias government use reciprocity protocol in order to seek for support. Reciprocity protocol refers to the act that one would do according to the act of another toward itself. For instance, Uruguay support Cambodias candidacy for the non-permanent member of the UNSC in 2012-2013, and Cambodia support it back for Uruguays candidacy in 2013-2104. (Massachusetts, 2012) Second, this is the first time that Cambodia has searched for a position in the United Nation since its membership in 1955, so Cambodia would have a high chance to convince others. Third, Cambodia would present a new voice; one of the worlds smaller countries, but one with big ambitions. This application not only for its own people but it is also for the wider international community, the developing countries. Forth, Cambodia has contributed to the UN peace keeping forces and operations. From being a country which has required the services of United Nations peace-keeping troops, Cambodia now proudly contributes 5|Page

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to the UN peace keeping force around the world. (HE. Hor Nam Bora, 2012) For instance, Cambodia hosted the multinational peacekeeping operation kicks off on 17 July, 2010. (Xinhua, 2011) This exercise is secondly 2011 Angkor Sentinel, after Cambodia held Angkor Sentinel in 2010 as part of US-sponsored Global Peace Operations Initiative, aiming to develop the UN peacekeeping capacities of developing countries. In addition, following training, Cambodian peace keeping troops rotated through UN peacekeeping operations in Sudan, Lebanon, Chad and Central Africa. Last but not least, Cambodia would use its bond with the major power to help lobby others countries mainly China. Cambodia-Sino relation is very strong, and it was a great sign when president Hu came to Cambodia. Those western mainly the US would need help from Cambodia to engage more in the ASEAN mainly South China Sea issue, and the issue of North Korea nuclear weapon. What are current competitors of Cambodia? Currently, there are two competitors, Bhutan and South Korea. Bhutan stands on the ground that it has never had any position in the body. Even though Japan has great relationship with Cambodia, The Japanese Ambassador to Bhutan, Akitaka Saiki said Japan will support Bhutans candidature for the United Nations Security Council. (Bhutan Today, 2012) Another threat, South Korea, has great soft power compare to Cambodia, so it would be a great challenge for Cambodia; however, South Korea used to be a non-permanent of the UNSC once already. If this country is selected, what are the challenges and opportunities? There are four main opportunities. First, Cambodia could gain prestige in the international stage; from an unknown country to be a non-permanent of the UNSC. Prestige is very important for a country; it is a pride for not only the government, but it is also given toward every Cambodian. Another opportunity is the ability to access to the resources mainly foreign aids and trades and investments. As a non-permanent member of the UNSC, Cambodia could work closer with the major powers, and Cambodia could have a voice in the international issues. Likely will be happen, some states could lobby Cambodia for certain issues, and it would gain abundance of benefits. Third, Cambodia could get changes to involve in the global affairs. Not many countries in this world could have voices on the global matters; however, they are the victims that are affected by those issues mainly global warming and climate change. Thus, it is the opportunities for Cambodia seek for a 6|Page

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chance to engage in those matters. Last but not least, Cambodia could gain so much from diplomatic interests from both internal and external the UNSC. However, there are also great challenges if Cambodia is selected. Cambodia would encounter trade-off when the issues concerning parties are major power or inter-related. For instance, the South China Sea conflict, which is a great challenge for Cambodia as an ASEAN chairmanship, is a great challenge because Cambodia needs balance the interests and the responsibilities. Second, the capacity to reform the UNSC is too vague for Cambodia to bear alone. In the Cambodia UN Brochure, Cambodia would seek to reform the UNSC to make the council more representative, accountable and effective (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) ; however, Cambodia is too weak both soft and hard powers that make these commitments become doubtful. Lastly, the balance of the regional and international organization is also a great challenge for Cambodia. For instance, Universal Human Rights has been promoted by the UN throughout the globe; however, there are some states include Asian Pacific claim that relative rights is more adaptable for the local level, thus there are contrast concepts between regional and international organization. In conclusion, the UN is a very vital role in promoting peace making, peace building and peace keeping, if any, for Cambodia. Cambodia establishes diplomatic with the UN families for the purpose human security and socio-economic development. Furthermore, Cambodia both government and NGOs could work closely with the UN to achieve CMDG in Cambodia. Moreover, the UN is a platform for Cambodia seeking for a role in the international stage, and bidding a seat in the non-permanent members of the UNSC is a great leap for Cambodia to engage in the future global affairs. Thus, Cambodia needs to be well-prepared to tackles the upcoming challenges both regional and international issues in order that Cambodia would truly become a new voice in the UNSC.

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RUPP, IFL, DIS References

Cambodia Foreign Policy

Bhutan Today. (2012, March 08). JAPAN WILL SUPPORT BHUTANS BID FOR UNSC . Retrieved May 27, 2012, from Bhutan today: http://bhutantoday.bt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1587:jap an-will-support-bhutans-bid-for-unsc HE. Hor Nam Bora. (2012, April 19). Interview with His Excellency Hor Nam Bora Ambassador of Cambodia to UK-Denmark-Finland-Ireland-Norway- SwedenEthioipia and Permanent Representative to the African Union. (T. o. Cambodia, Interviewer) Inter-Parliamentary Union. (1993). ipu organization. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from Cambodia Parliamentary Chamber: Constituent Assembly: http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2051_93.htm Jim Garamone. (2012). Panetta Describes U.S. Shift in Asia-Pacific. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from defence.gov: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116591 Massachusetts, C. C. (2012, May 22). Uruguay Supports Cambodias Candidacy as UNSC Non-Permanent Member. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from Cambodian consular: http://cambodianconsular.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/uruguay-supportscambodias-candidacy-as-unsc-non-permanent-member/ mersiades, M. (n.d.). Peacekeeping and Legitimacy: Lessons from Cambodia and somalia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. (n.d.). Cambodia Candidate for the United Nations Security Council 2013-2014. Phnom Penh: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Relations. (2012). Comparative COnnections: A Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations. U.S.A.

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Royal Embassy of Cambodia. (2012, March). Vision of Cambodia, issue one. Retrieved May 25, 2012 UNDP. (2010). Current Status of Cambodian Millennium Development Goals (CMDG). United Nation Truste Fund For Human Security. (n.d.). Human Security. Retrieved May 25, 2012, from United Nation Truste Fund For Human Security: http://ochaonline.un.org/Default.aspx?alias=ochaonline.un.org/humansecurity VOA Voice of America. (2011, November 16). Obama in Bali for East Asia Summit . Retrieved May 25, 2012, from voanews: http://www.voanews.com/content/obama-in-bali-for-east-asia-summit134082023/168215.html Xinhua. (2011, May 16). Multinational military exercise kicks off in Cambodia . Retrieved May 23, 2012, from global times: http://world.globaltimes.cn/asiapacific/2011-05/655610.html

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