Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday unveiled his strategy to offset the loss of a preferential trade agreement that the European Union is likely to withdraw in response to his government’s failure to reverse rollbacks on democracy, saying he is “done taking orders” from other countries.
Speaking during a three-hour forum hosted in the capital Phnom Penh, Hun Sen told civil servants, members of the private sector, and other stakeholders—including diplomats and the EU ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar—that his government “won’t bow down” to anyone in return for aid or other handouts, and “has had enough” of other nations trying to dictate Cambodia’s internal affairs.
Hun Sen listed several reforms that he said followed the late King Norodom Sihanouk’s policy of independence and sovereign integrity, including reducing “unofficial payments” in his government, decreasing transportation fees, and cutting the number of national holidays from 30 to 23 days.
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