Taking the baton for the third time as the ASEAN chair in 2022, Cambodia’s diplomatic tenacity was tested by the war in Ukraine, Myanmar’s political upheaval, cross-Strait tensions, COVID-19 and US–China competition. Despite this precarity, Cambodia steered ASEAN through geopolitically choppy waters. The outlook for 2023 promises to be similarly exigent for Cambodia’s foreign policy.
Sitting at the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia will continue to hedge between external powers to protect its sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign and security policy. Two countries that matter immensely in this formula are Japan and China due to their roles in Cambodia’s socioeconomic development.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn wrapped up his first foreign trip of 2023 to Japan, where he met Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and discussed ways to deepen bilateral ties, which were upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2022.
Author: Chansambath Bong, Asian Vision Institute
Chansambath Bong is Deputy Director of the Centre for Inclusive Digital Economy at the Asian Vision Institute, a policy think tank based in Cambodia. He is also Lecturer at the Institute for International Studies and Public Policy at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.