Monday, 26 October 2009

Burma not happy with Hun Sen

Published: 26/10/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Burmese people are not pleased that Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen likened fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra with their opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

After arriving at Hua Hin Airport to attend the15th Asean Summit on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen told reporters that the ousted premier was a victim of political persecution like Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi.

His comment caused a group of Burmese politicians, students and villagers to gather near the Thai-Burmese border at Tak's Mae Sod district on Monday morning.

"Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 14 years, is an unconditional fighter for democracy, has never thought of fleeing the country and is not fighting for personal interest. She cannot be compared with Thaksin," a Burmese student said.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya's secretary, Chawanon Intharakomansut, said the Foreign Ministry had not asked the government to consider downgrading its diplomatic ties with Cambodia in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen's comment that his country would not extradite Thaksin.

"We'll have to observe Cambodia's stance for now after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the Cambodian premier to reconsider this issue carefully and focus on bilateral ties and benefits to both countries instead of one person's personal interest.

"The Thai government would find new measures to bring back Thaksin to Thailand if the Cambodian government refuses to extradite him," he said

Does Hun Sen want to play in our political sandbox?

Published: 26/10/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Friends and supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's iconic democracy crusader, may have felt insulted by Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen when he tried to compare her with his so-called "eternal friend", exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

"Many people are talking about Mrs Suu Kyi of Burma. Why can't I talk about the victim, Thaksin?" said Hun Sen during his face-off with the media on Friday when he arrived in Hua Hin for the Asean summit.

The Cambodian prime minister's attempt to liken Thaksin to Mrs Suu Kyi as both were victims of separate military coups in Thailand and Burma was simplistic and ignorant of the huge difference in characteristics and dedication to democracy between the two people, not to mention the political backgrounds leading to their overthrow.

"Without the coup d'etat in 2006, such a thing would not have happened," said Hun Sen.

But what would have happened without the coup then? No one then seemed to have the right answer although they agreed that the political stalemate would drag on until either side in the conflict - the Thaksin government on one side and the People's Alliance for Democracy on the other - lost their patience. Then what, bloodshed? But would Hun Sen care?

I don't think he would as the only thing he cares about is that he lost a powerful friend in Thailand who seemed to have done him and his family a lot of favours to the point that his wife had tears in her eyes when she learned about Thaksin's fate.

Hun Sen insisted his remarks about Thaksin did not constitute interference in Thailand's domestic affairs. He was quoted to have said: "This is just moral support from me. As one million Thai people of the red shirt group support Thaksin, why can't I, as a friend from afar, support Thaksin?"

But I beg to differ. His first remark, which was first conveyed to theThai people by former prime minister and Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and then repeated upon his arrival here for the Asean summit, amounted to direct interference in Thailand's internal affairs. They also demonstrated his complete lack of any diplomatic decency and statesmanship.

Hun Sen's remarks should have pleased the Puea Thai Party and the red shirt people. In the meantime, they have incensed the yellow shirt people as well as many non-partisan Thais who despise a foreigner like a Cambodian interfering in our worst politically divisive issue.

It has been widely known that Hun Sen and Thaksin have had a close relationship through their business dealings and it was believed that the fugitive ex-premier had, on various occasions, slipped into Cambodia. But then why did the Cambodian premier choose to make public his sympathy and support for Thaksin now - at first through Gen Chavalit and then by himself at the Asean summit - despite the fact that the coup which toppled the Thaksin regime took place more than three years ago?

Was it intended to embarrass Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva? The answer was already loud and clear as Mr Abhisit appeared to be disturbed by Hun Sen's remarks and hit back at the latter. "What is the purpose of Prime Minster Hun Sen coming to Thailand?" said Mr Abhisit during a press conference on Friday. Was he coached by Gen Chavalit whose one-day visit to Phnom Penh, which came two days ahead of the Asean summit, seemed quite untimely if not suspicious?

As a shrewd politician who has survived in Cambodian politics for decades while many of his arch-rivals have all lost out or faded into oblivion, I don't think Hun Sen needs coaching. After having deliberately made unprovoked inflammatory remarks against Thailand on various occasions, including his order for Cambodian troops at the border to shoot any Thais who trespass on the disputed territories or his recent announcement to Cambodian students that he would tear up the Thai map pertaining to the Thai-Cambodian border if it does not correspond with the one held by Phnom Penh, Hun Sen, this time, may think that he wants to have a hand in Thai politics. And he has chosen to take Thaksin's side probably believing that the fugitive ex-premier will definitely be able to stage a political comeback in the not too distant future.

Even Thaksin himself is not certain whether or when he will be able to return in triumph.

Since Hun Sen has laid out his hand, it remains to be seen whether Thaksin and his Puea Thai Party will join hands with Cambodia to fulfil the fugitive ex-premier's wish for a political comeback.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Monday, 26 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

 Angkor Wat

Two decades after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge, Siem Reap is finally regaining its footing as one the most popular destinations on earth.

Siem Reap is undoubtedly Cambodia's fastest growing city, welcoming over 100,000 international tourists every year and gaining recognition from locals as the 'tourist town'. The city comprises of over 116 hotels with continuing developments, a far cry from its mere two properties just three years ago.

Angkor Night Markets

Tuk tuk's are the best way to get around the city, drivers often knowing exactly where you want to go so long as you say it slowly. In some cases, drivers even have translation cards for major landmarks or tourist areas.
If you wander around independently, you will find that the most activity is in the Old Market Area (Psah Chas) which runs alongside the Siem Reap River. There, streets are filled with restaurants, spas, hotels, markets and bars. In particular, Pub St (where the name speaks for itself) turns into a hub of tourist activity at night, clubs pumping foreign pop and rock music while tuk tuk drivers scramble to grab the next customer stumbling out of a bar.

Traditional Apsara Dance

Apart from Pub St, the best place to be at night is at the Angkor Night Market, where over 200 huts showcase some of the best traditional Cambodian handmade products such as clothing, silk art, jewellery, scarves, wood and stone carvings and other handicrafts. If your feet are sore from shopping, head to the back of the market to get a US$2 foot massage or go to the market's Dr. Fish stall and have fish nibble the dead skin off your feet and legs!

Cambodian banana flower salad

But tourists simply cannot say they've been to Siem Reap if they haven't visited its biggest claim to fame - Angkor Wat. Built in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is one of few UNESCO world heritage listed sites and Cambodia's most valuable monument. Angkor Wat is breathtaking, to say the least, and Siem Reap owes its booming tourist numbers to this majestic site.

With Angkor Wat standing as a reminder of such a grand past, it's no wonder that Siem Reap has picked up the pieces so diligently and drawn in the world once again.

Cambodia and Thailand clash at summit over Thaksin – Lead

Written by DAP NEWS -- Monday, 26 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

HUA HIN- Cambodia and Thailand traded barbs at an Asian summit Friday after Cambodia’s prime minister offered fugitive former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra a safe haven and job as an adviser.

Hun Sen, the outspoken Cambodian premier, further riled the hosts of the annual meeting by comparing the plight of the ousted Thaksin to that of detained Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva hit back by accusing Hun Sen of being a “pawn” and urging him to work for unity between the two countries, which have had a series of deadly border skirmishes in the past year.

“Thaksin can stay in Cambodia as a guest of Cambodia. He can also be my adviser on the economy,” Hun Sen said as he arrived in the beach resort of Hua Hin for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

The Cambodian leader repeated an earlier invitation to Thaksin to stay in Cambodia and rejected Thai claims that Phnom Penh would have to extradite the tycoon.

Thaksin was toppled in a 2006 coup and fled Thailand last year to avoid a jail term for corruption.

“Our concern is for humanitarian reasons, it is friends helping friends. The internal affairs of Thailand would be left for Thai people to resolve, I am not interfering,” said Hun Sen.

“Millions of Thai people, the Red Shirts, support Thaksin. Why as a friend can’t I support Thaksin? Without the 2006 coup these things would not have happened.”

Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander known for his provocative remarks, added: “Many people talk about Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, why not talk about Thaksin? That cannot be referred to as interfering.”

Abhisit rebuked his guest, telling reporters there was no comparison with the Myanmar opposition leader, whose house arrest was extended by 18 months in August to a chorus of international outrage. “I am concerned that he is seriously misinformed. I think there is clearly a misunderstanding of the situation if he compares the situation as far as Thaksin is concerned and Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said.

“I don’t know how many people share his view that Thaksin is like Aung San Suu Kyi. I doubt there are many, for fairly obvious reasons.”

The Oxford-educated Abhisit, who earlier in the day represented Thailand at a ceremony marking the creation of ASEAN’s first ever commission on human rights, said the summit was an opportunity for regional unity.

“He (Hun Sen) is here for ASEAN. We are here to build a community, which means solidarity, which means community,” he said.

“I don’t want him to be a victim or a pawn for someone that undermines the interests of his country and the interests of the region. I am sure that when he is better informed he will change his mind.”

Ties between Cambodia and Thailand have been difficult since June 2008 amid an ongoing border conflict over land surrounding an 11th century temple.

But relations have cooled further since Hun Sen made his first invitation to Thaksin earlier this week.

Thaksin is living in exile after fleeing Bangkok in August last year to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption. He is believed to be living mainly in Dubai.

He has angered the Thai government by staging a series of phone-ins from abroad to mass rallies in Bangkok by his supporters, known as the “Red Shirts”.

The Cambodian government said earlier Friday that under treaties between the two nations it could reject a request for Thaksin’s extradition because it would be made on the grounds of “political offence”.

Thai officials said there were no plans yet for any meeting between Abhisit and Hun Sen at the Hua Hin summit. (AFP)

Cambodian Army Chief Attends World Army Summit in US

Written by DAP NEWS -- Monday, 26 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Royal of Cambodia Armed Forces (RCAF) Chief, Gen. Pol Saroeun, accompanied by two senior soldiers to attend the World Army Chiefs summit in Hawaii for three days, according to an assistant to the army chief on Saturday.

“Gen. Pol Saroeun accompanied other two senior RCAF officers to attend a summit October 26-29 in Kapolei city,” Meak Sina told DAP News Cambodia on Saturday.

The summit’s goal is to increase cooperation among all armies of the world, and to promote better relationships between national armies, Meak Sina added.

According to the assistant, Pol Saroeun and the delegation will return to Cambodia on October 31.

Cambodia Warns PAD about Embassy Protest

Written by DAP NEWS -- Monday, 26 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodian high-ranking officials strongly warned the Thai People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) over their plans to protest at the Cambo- dian embassy in Bangkok next month, demanding the Cambodia to withdraw its soldiers from a 4.6 kilometer square area near Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple.

PAD protesters on Saturday threa- tened to surround the Cambodian Embassy next month unless Cambodia withdrew its troops from area adjacent to Preah Vihear Temple, according to the Thai Nation newspaper on Saturday.

The threat was made when the PAD organized a brief protest at Puk Tien Beach in Cha-Am district Saturday, demanding the withdrawal of troops from the area immediately.

“We will protest at the Cambodian Embassy next month. Unless its government withdraws troops from the disputed area, we will surround the embassy,” the protesters declared.

Some 30 people gathered at the beach, about 10 km from meeting venue of ASEAN Summit, also in responding to harsh remarks by Cambodia that it would not extradite former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Thailand. Chea Dara, the Royal Government of Cambodia Deputy Army Chief and Preah Vihear military chief, told DAP News Cambodia that he warned the PAD that Cambodia strongly rejects a Thai map claiming the area near Preah Vihear.

“We dot withdraw from that area which requested by only single made map,” Chea Dara said. “As I am a Royal Cambodia Armed Forces soldiers, we must defend and protect our territory as directed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen even one millimeter.”

Koy Kuong, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, also told DAP News Cambodia that the embassy is being protected and that embassy staff are safe.

This is the first time that PAD said it would protest at the Cambodian embassy in Thailand after Thai soldiers attempted to encroach illegally upon Cambodian territory near Preah Vihear.

Cambodian Private Hospitals Provide A(H1N1) Flu Vaccinations

Written by DAP NEWS -- Monday, 26 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A senior Cambodian government official admitted on Saturday that he had already received an A(H1N1) flu vaccination at a private hospital on Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh. State hospitals, however, do not offer these injections.

“I paid US$20 for injecting the new flu vaccination this morning, an official from anti-corruption authority told his master’s degree classes at a university in Phnom Penh. “I am so concerned about this flu. Therefore I called to my friend as doctor at Calmette Hospital. But he told me to that his hospital does not offer this vaccination. He recommended me to a private hospital … [but] the doctor there told me that this vaccination is cannot offer 100 percent protection or cure A(H1N1) flu or strengthen the immune system.”

A local journalist also said that he paid about US$30 for a flu vaccination from a doctor near Central Market.

Health Minister Mum Bunheng has said several times in the media that so far his ministry has not imported flu vaccinations, seeming sharp contrast with private hospitals, clinics and even some pharmacies. “I do not know how the private hospitals could import that vaccination into Cambodia because the Health Ministry did not issue the direction to do so,” Ly Sovan, deputy director of the Communicable Disease Control of department of the Health Ministry said yesterday. “How could not I know that vaccination in Cambodia?” he asked. “If they import that vaccination, the Committee of Drug Control of the Health Ministry will check first to ensure about quality of that vaccination.”

The Health Ministry will investigate the, he added. There have been over 200 documented cases in Cambodia and with three documented fatalities, including a pregnant woman in Phnom Penh. “We will update new data every week on our website,” Ly Sovan said.

He also recommended people not go to crowded places if they are worried about catching the flu.

“If we have vaccinations for the flu, it will be provided for children, doctors and elderly people because they face risks.”

Thaksin has much to offer Cambodians

Published: 26/10/2009
Newspaper section: News

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has made the right decision to eagerly see his friend in exile Thaksin Shinawatra as his economic adviser. In fact, Thaksin has more than just economic nous on offer for the Cambodian leader.

With six years in power as the government leader before being unseated by the military coup, Thaksin has lots of experience under his belt to help him advise the Cambodian strongman. Hun Sen has held power longer than Thaksin. But his Thai friend could impress him with the way he and his now defunct Thai Rak Thai Party administered Thailand.

If appointed as adviser, Thaksin can show Hun Sen how to zigzag around government budgets to make sure the prime minister keeps full control of government coffers.

The former prime minister is well versed in that already. His government at the time juggled most of the taxpayer money so it stayed in the central budget, leaving pocket change for the ministries and other government agencies. By doing so, he put himself in direct command of the budget to serve his policies and popularity.

Thaksin can give Hun Sen tips on how a government leader can reduce cabinet members to mere good listeners.

The ministers under the Thaksin premiership were known for turning his orders into practice. In cabinet meetings, they were told what to do. Debate and arguments were rare and those who dared to do that opened themselves up to trouble. The same situation was applied to government officials in all agencies. If they wanted to survive, they had to keep their arguments to themselves or air their frustrations with colleagues only.

Is Hun Sen worried about the role of independent organisations to annoy him? No problem. Thaksin can easily help him out there. The solution to make them inactive is not that difficult. Simply putting your own men in neutral bodies is the answer.

Thaksin is also an expert on land deals. If Hun Sen wants tips on this issue, he will be ready. Just look at the Ratchadaphisek case. He knew how to make sure that the deal for that prime land would go to his wife at the time, Khunying Potjaman.

But this issue has to be carefully handled. Thaksin learned his lesson as he was sentenced to two years in jail for abuse of authority by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Once Thaksin is appointed adviser to Hun Sen, other countries can expect Cambodia to be the centre stage of Asia. One thing Thaksin failed to get going when he was at Government House was the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.

The forum was to bring together Asian countries to join hands for prosperity for Asia. Buoyed by pressmen calling him a new leader in Asia, Thaksin overestimated Thailand's clout to do that. It turned out only a few countries were keen on the idea.

Thaksin can convince Hun Sen to follow up on it.

The most precious advice Thaksin can give to Hun Sen is not to trust the military top brass even though they were handpicked in each arm of the forces. Another thing is, don't leave the country if it's not necessary.

Military leaders always guarantee their loyalty to you when they meet you and even ensure that staging a coup against you is impossible. But once you are away from the country, they can act quite differently.

Thaksin knows this lesson well. He left for the United Nations in September 2006 as prime minister to address the UN General Assembly. The address in New York never happened. Instead, he had to redirect his route from Bangkok to London and return to Bangkok later as an ousted premier.

And ''as a friend from afar'' Hun Sen should have some suggestions to Thaksin, too, if he decides to take the Cambodian leader's offer of a temporary house in Cambodia and a new job as an economic adviser.

The Cambodian leader should strongly recommend to Thaksin that on his way from Dubai to Phnom Penh not to forget to make a two-year stopover in Thailand first.

Australia Arrests Man For Child Porn Offenses Upon Extradition From Cambodia
Source: Government of Australia
Posted on: 25th October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A 53-year-old Daintree man has been arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) at Brisbane Airport, following his extradition from Cambodia.

This man is the first person to be extradited to Australia to face prosecution for offences under the laws which came into effect on 1 March 2005 relating to online child sex exploitation within the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The arrest has resulted from an extensive investigation known as Operation Resistance, which commenced in June 2008 after information was received by the AFP’s High Tech Crime Operations Child Protection team from child protection counterparts in Brazil. The information indicated that alleged offenders were sharing videos depicting child sexual abuse on the Internet.

The man will face Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow, charged with offences including accessing child abuse material.

This extradition is also the first extradition from Cambodia to Australia since the introduction of the Cambodian Criminal Procedures Code in mid-2007.

On 20 November 2008, AFP officers executed a search warrant at a residential premises in Daintree, North Queensland.

The AFP seized ten hard drives and 60 compact discs at the premises. The total storage capacity of these items is approximately one terabyte.

The AFP estimates that one terabyte equates to 40,000 A4 filing cabinets of paper.

The AFP will allege in court that up to 140,000 images and 10,350 graphic videos were located at the premises, containing abuse images of children and infants as young as 12 months to persons under the age of 16.

In December 2008, a first instance warrant was issued in Queensland for the arrest of the offender, who was believed to be travelling in South East Asia.

The man was arrested by Cambodian authorities in May 2009 pursuant to a provisional arrest request made by Australia. Following the presentation of a formal extradition request by Australia, and approval by the Cambodian Government, the man was extradited to Australia today.

Cambodia and Australia have both ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Optional Protocol allows signatory countries to make extradition requests for extradition offences in the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty. This is the first extradition request to be made by Australia under the Protocol.

The man has been charged by the AFP for possessing child exploitation material, contrary to the Criminal Code (Qld), accessing child pornography material from the internet, contrary to the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and making available child pornography material to other users of the internet, contrary to the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The arrest confirms the commitment of the AFP to protect children from abuse, including in the online environment.

The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment.

4th East Asian Summit on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen adjusts his earphones as he attends the ASEAN retreat during the 15th ASEAN Summit in Cha-Am of Hua Hin district, southern Thailand, October 24, 2009. REUTERS/Sakchai Lalit/Pool (CAAI News Media)

Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah (L), Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan talk after the 7th ASEAN-India meeting at the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin October 24, 2009. REUTERS/Erik de Castro (CAAI News Media)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) shakes hand with his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva before the 4th East Asia Summit meeting held on the sideline of the 15th ASEAN summit in Cha-Am of Hua Hin district, southern Thailand October 25, 2009. REUTERS/Sakchai Lalit/Pool  (CAAI News Media)

Asian leaders from left to right: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan. pose during a group photo at the 4th East Asian Summit on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, held in the southern beach resort of Cha-am, Thailand, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Nyein Chan Naing, Pool) (CAAI News Media)

Let Suu Kyi join 2010 polls–Asean
Written by Estrella Torres / Reporter
Sunday, 25 October 2009 22:46

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

LEADERS of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) urged Burma’s military junta to include Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in next year’s elections to make the exercise fair and credible for the international community.

An Asean chairman’s statement issued over the weekend in Hua Hin, Thailand, launched the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which seeks to handle cases of atrocities committed against nationals of the 10 member- countries.

“We pledged to fully support the operation of the AICHR in accordance with its Terms of Reference prepared by the High Level Panel on an Asean Human Rights Body and approved by our Foreign Ministers,” said the Asean chairman’s statement.

The Asean leaders welcomed the Philippines’s offer to host the AICHR headquarters in Manila. President Arroyo named Ambassador Rosario Manalo to represent the country in the Asean rights body. Manalo led the high-level task force that drafted the landmark Asean charter adopted in December 2008; and the creation of a human-rights body was proposed by the Philippines to be a major part of the Asean charter.

The Asean leaders underscored the importance of the general elections in Burma as part of the junta’s fulfillment of the country’s roadmap to democracy, as proposed by Asean and accepted by the dictators.

The leaders were very clear on how the elections should be conducted—“in a fair, free, inclusive and transparent manner in order to be credible to the international community.”

In August, Suu Kyi was sentenced to another 18 months’ house arrest following the reported “illegal” visit of an American, John W.Yettaw.

The prodemocracy leader has been detained for almost 14 of the last 20 years, mostly under house arrest. Critics believe the latest verdict prolonging her house arrest is part of the junta’s plan to prevent her from participating in the 2010 elections.

Meanwhile, many civil society organizations believe the terms of reference for the AICHR is already a “watered down” version because the provision imposing “sanctions and expulsion” on atrocious leaders have been scrapped in a particular effort by Burma and Cambodia, the Asean members with long histories of atrocities and dictatorship.

Thaksin tells PM to observe good etiquette
Sun, Oct 25, 2009
The Nation/Asia News Network

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday warned Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to observe good etiquette as the host and have consideration for Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In his Twitter, Thaksin criticised Abhisit for taking Hun Sen to task after the Cambodian Prime Minister came out in his defence. Thaksin said Abhisit should not keep a personal grudge and have bilateral relations in mind.

"As chairman of Asean, he should have etiquette. The PM should be focused and not see Hun Sen's face as my face," Thaksin said.

Hun Sen last week expressed his support for Thaksin saying the exPM did not receive justice politically. Also, when he arrived for the Asean Summit on Friday, the Cambodian Prime Minister said he would appoint Thaksin his economic adviser.

Credits, Extradition Agreements, and Reasons for Exemptions – Sunday, 25.10.2009

Posted on 26 October 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Additional international loans from China and from the Republic of Korea have been agreed upon. As The Mirror quoted from reports this the week, during 2008 and 2009, about US$1 billion were received as loans from China, with an emphasis on infrastructure development. Besides these loans, also a grant was announced during the week of approximately US$15 million – half of it as grant aid, and the other half as a loan with no interest, to help overcome the suffering from recent floods and to restore infrastructure. Relief for the damage caused by the typhoon Ketsana is also forthcoming from the World Bank, Japan, Germany, and maybe from other sources.

In addition, during the visit of the President of the Republic of Korea, an amount of US$200 million in loans were agreed upon.

We are not aware that details about the timing and the terms of the re-payment obligations were published. Neither did we see any evaluation of the situation in terms of what is called a “sustainable external debt” – which is defined by some scholars of economics as “a situation where a country is expected to be able to meet its current and future debt obligations in full, without recourse to debt relief, rescheduling of debts, or the accumulation of arrears, and without unduly compromising growth.”

A number of agreements were signed, with China related to the infrastructure measures to be implemented with the loans, as we have mirrored before. With Korea, also a number of measures in other fields were agreed upon, among otheres also a mutual agreement on extraditions.

The role of extradition agreements, their validity, and possible exception, started to be discussed intensely after it had been reported that Prime Minister Hun Sen had offered to host his ‘eternal friend,’ the former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and he can come to Cambodia anytime, “and I prepare a house to welcome him.”

This announcement, immediately before the ASEAN summit meeting in Thailand, resulted in a series of responses and explanations back and forth, where we try to mirror the main developments.

The Thai Prime Minister countered with a statement that Thailand will ask to have the former Thai prime minister extradited if he comes to Cambodia, because of his conviction for a two years prison sentence, adding that he believes “the Cambodian leaders can clearly separate between politics and friendship.”

In spite of this, Prime Minister Hun Sen was quoted to have said, while in Thailand, “Thaksin can stay in Cambodia as a guest of Cambodia. He can also be my adviser on the economy.” And he added: “Many people talk about Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, why not talk about Thaksin? That cannot be referred to as interfering.”

In response, the Thai Prime Minister is quoted to have said: “I am concerned that he is seriously misinformed. I think there is clearly a misunderstanding of the situation if he compares the situation, as far as Thaksin is concerned and Aung San Suu Kyi. – I don’t know how many people share his view that Thaksin is like Aung San Suu Kyi. I doubt there are many, for fairly obvious reasons.”

Also the Cambodian government started to refer to misunderstanding and to clarifications. The Bangkok Post had reported: “Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has built a house for Thaksin Shinawatra to stay in his country whenever he wants to, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said on his return from Cambodia” – but this was now denied and declared as incorrectly quoted by journalists. And though the possibility of an extradition was strictly rejected, “the Royal Government of Cambodia still maintains the firm position to maintain good relationships and cooperation in all sectors between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand.” The invitation to stay temporarily – not permanently, as was now stated, was to be considered to be “based on an humanitarian attitude, as Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen is a friend of Mr. Thaksin, and he helps him in a time of crisis, and this humanitarian attitude is not meant to interference in the internal affairs of Thailand.”

But so far the Thai side is not accepting such an interpretation. Also the Foreign Minister of Thailand expressed the hope that the Cambodian Prime Minister “would be able to distinguish personal affairs from the mutual interests of the two countries,” adding “I don’t know whether Prime Minister Hun Sen has invited Thaksin to visit Cambodia after he has served his jail term in Thailand or not.” If it were before serving his time in prison, the Thai government would seek his extradition in accordance with the bilateral treaty.

Such exchanges brought also other affairs again up for discussion: The Thai former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame, convicted for corruption, who is said to have fled to Cambodia to live here, could not be extradited because his offenses were committed before the extradition treaty came into effect in 2001. But the conviction of the former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra happened in 2008. Though the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had reported the conclusion of the Cambodia-Thailand Extradition Treaty on its website, the text is not available there.

The Thai government continues to consider an extradition request, as there are only two reasons mutually agreed upon for rejecting such a request: if a conviction was politically motivated, or if it was the result of a bias based on reasons of race, religion, nationality, or political views. There is no disagreement about the right of either side to reject an extradition. So the Cambodian government is entitled to “clarify the interpretation of the case of the Thai former prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, as it could be viewed as being politically motivated” as also reported as a Cambodian government position yesterday.

It is now also remembered again that the Cambodian and the former Thai prime ministers have overseen the conclusion of big business deals. The Thai Samart mobile phone company was an early entrant into the Cambodian market, and in 2001 followed a 22 years agreement that the telecommunications company of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will provide the main air traffic control services for the airports of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

The Mirror of 29 June 2008 carried information about the dramatic developments related to the accusations about financial irregularities, leading to a court case against the ousted former prime minister, so that he at the end requested the permission to leave the country briefly on bail – but the result was that he broke the promise of an early return to face the court. Only one episode is repeated here: the mistaken box of chocolate:

Three lawyers of the ousted prime minister were jailed for six month by the Supreme Court for attempted bribery and contempt of the court. They had visited the court to discuss when the former prime minister and his wife would appear at the court, and when leaving, the lawyers left a lunch box with Baht 2 million in cash – about US$60,000 – ‘for the court officials.’ When they opened it, a judge happened to walk by and saw it. The jailed lawyer said he just mistook the box – his wife had prepared some chocolate for the court staff, and he, by mistake, took the other box with the two million. Now the police is investigating where the money came from.

In the meantime, tensions between the deeply split political groupings in Thailand are also intensifying.
Another former army commander and former prime minister, General Prem Tinsulanond, a senior to the former army commander and former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, criticized that the visit of the latter to Cambodia, and the subsequent invitation to the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has opened the Thai political society to international interference.

It is very difficult to foresee what will happen next. All sides involved are also under pressure to prove their patriotic commitment to solve the problem of the area around the Preah Vihear temple, without alienating public natinalistic expectations to find a solution for “their” side.

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Asean Summit Turns to Widening Free Trade

From left, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand, Premier Wen Jiabao of China and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cha-am, Thailand, on Sunday.

Published: October 25, 2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

CHA-AM, THAILAND — After a year of uncertain economic prospects, a sense of cautious optimism appeared to have returned to Asia’s leaders here over the weekend, as they returned to the business of increasing trade within the region, lowering tariffs and discussing plans for a wider Asian free trade zone.

“Recovery has taken hold in Asia,” Kasit Piromya, the Thai foreign minister, said Saturday in a news conference summarizing the findings of a summit meeting of the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as China, Japan and South Korea.

The weekend meeting at this beachside town south of Bangkok also included meetings with leaders from Australia, India and New Zealand on Sunday. Leaders focused in large part on the nitty-gritty of expanding trade, especially one of the key impediments to regional commerce: the lack of good transportation in the less developed parts of the region.

The gathering appeared to serve as a coda to the economic crisis in Asia, during which many trade-dependent Asian economies suffered sharp contractions. Asia now appears to be bouncing back rapidly, especially when compared with the United States and Europe.

The Thai prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, said a major concern raised by leaders Sunday was finding new avenues for economic growth that are not dependent on the markets of the United States and Europe. “The old growth model where, simply put, we have still to rely on consumption in the West for goods and services produced here, we feel will no longer serve us,” he said.

A statement issued after the final meetings Sunday said the leaders were “encouraged that the global economy had shown signs of recovery” but urged governments to remain vigilant.

Leaders discussed many other issues here, ranging from climate change and the formation of a human rights commission in Southeast Asia. But there were also reminders of the tensions accompanying Asia’s economic rise, especially jockeying by Japan and China for the top leadership role in the region.

The Japanese and Chinese governments have competing proposals to finance infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, and the two nations appeared to disagree at the meeting about the future of an East Asian free trade zone. The Japanese delegation stressed the importance of the involvement of the United States, perhaps in part to appease concerns in Washington over possible shifts in Tokyo toward a more Asia-centered Japanese foreign policy.

“Japan places the U.S.-Japan alliance at the foundation of its diplomacy,” Yukio Hatoyama, the Japanese prime minister, told the leaders at the summit meeting, according to a Japanese government spokesman.

There are several proposals for a future East Asian free trade zone — the Japanese version is called the East Asian Community — but all remain vague and nascent concepts that leaders say are a long way from reality. The proposals are often compared to a European Union-style single market, but analysts say a pan-Asian economic bloc would be unlikely to have E.U.-style open borders, free movement of labor and common security policies.

China did not publicly offer its vision of an East Asian community, but a communiqué issued after a meeting of what is known as Asean plus three — the leaders of Asean, China, Japan and South Korea — said those 13 countries would form the “main vehicle towards the long-term goal of building an East Asian Community.” That would seem to exclude a role for the United States.

Asean leaders signed an agreement here for China to set up an Asean-China center in Beijing, financed by China. Asean leaders said they “commended” and supported China’s efforts to expand the use of its currency, the yuan, instead of the dollar in some regional trade transactions. And the leaders said they “welcomed” China’s initiatives to build roads in south-central Myanmar and western Cambodia and its financing of a bridge over the Mekong River between Laos and the Thai town of Chiang Khong, a project delayed in part by the economic crisis.

China told Asean leaders that they were eligible for a $15 billion Southeast Asian infrastructure loan program sponsored by the Chinese government.

During the summit meeting, Mr. Abhisit was asked whether Southeast Asian countries risked being caught between competing superpowers. “I see it as Asean providing balance,” he said.

The leaders said they were “well on track” for the Asean free-trade area by January. The agreement, long in the making, eliminates tariffs for 87 percent of imports within Asean countries.

Asean’s 10 member countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

China pledges additional scholarships for candidates from E Asian developing nations

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

HUA HIN, Thailand, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday pledged government scholarships for an additional 2,000 candidates and scholarships for 200 masters of public management program candidates from East Asian developing nations within the next five years.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd, R) attends the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) in the southern Thai resort town of Hua Hin, Oct. 25, 2009. The 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) opened here on Sunday, where ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders and their counterparts from China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand met to discuss regional cooperation topics. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Wen made the pledge at the fourth East Asia Summit, which gathered China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Leaders at the summit discussed regional cooperation and issues of common concern, including cooperation in education.

Later, Wen left here for home after attending the summit and two other summits related to ASEAN.

During his three-day stay here, Wen attended the 12th summit between ASEAN and China (10+1), the 12th summit between ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3), as well as the fourth East Asia Summit.

Wen also met his counterparts from India, New Zealand, Australia, Myanmar and Thailand, on the sidelines of the summits in Hua Hin, a coastal resort some 200 km south of Thailand's capital Bangkok.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) in the southern Thai resort town of Hua Hin, Oct. 25, 2009. The 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) opened here on Sunday, where ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders and their counterparts from China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand met to discuss regional cooperation topics.(Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Editor: Li Xianzhi

FM: Cambodia, India to strengthen defense, anti-terrorism co-op
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said on Sunday that India and Cambodia will strengthen the cooperation on the fields of national defense and anti-terrorism between the two countries.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, held bilateral talks on a sideline of ASEAN summit in Thailand and their talks focused on working together to strengthen the defense and anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries, Hor told reporters at a press conference at Phnom Penh airport after Cambodian delegation arrived from ASEAN Summit in Thailand.

India agreed to provide 15 million U.S. dollars concessional loan for building electricity power networks from Kratie and Steung Treng provinces in Cambodia, Hor added.

Moreover, Hor Namhong said that Indian Prime Minister will visit Cambodia in an appropriate time at the invitation of Hun Sen. Hun Sen, at the same, also requested the Indian side to help restore and maintain other Cambodian temples because Indian side used to assist Cambodia in the past, Hor said.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Cambodian fisheries officials attain Vietnam lessons, experience

Sunday ,Oct 25,2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodia has learned lessons and achieved experience in fisheries from Vietnam via a visit to the south on Oct. 20-24 by a government delegation of nine high-level officials, the delegation chief said.

Mr. Nao Thuok, general director of the Fisheries Administration, Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told Sai Gon Giai Phong that his delegation learned about how to properly manage a fish landing.

Mr. Nao Thuok (L) and two other Cambodian officials (1st, 2nd R) look at a hatchery at the National Breeding Center for Southern Marine Aquaculture in Vung Tau Oct. 23 (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

“Cambodia has not managed fish landing appropriately,” he said.

The delegation chief added the nine-member mission gained more experience in culture of such fish as snakehead, catfish, tilapia, and prawns.

He said pond, pen and cage culture of fish was seen in Vietnam’s Mekong provinces while pen culture was new in his country.

The delegates, who are from the Cambodian Fisheries Administration, said it was the first high-level visit since the former Fisheries Department was re-established with Vietnamese assistance in 1979.

In Tien Giang Province, the delegation visited the My Tho Fish Landing for marine species such as tuna and mackerel, catfish ponds in Cho Gao District, tilapia net pens and cages in My Tho City, and a small-scale snakehead cage farm and hatchery in Tan Phuoc District.

In neighboring Ben Tre Province, the visitors came to see a clam field and shrimp farm in Binh Dai District and a catfish processing plant in Chau Thanh District. Experience gained from Ben Tre included the community management of the clam field, which comprised protection of the field from thieves.

They then visited pomfret, grouper and cobia cages on the Cha Va River, and the National Breeding Center for Southern Marine Aquaculture in Vung Tau City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.

The Cambodian delegation visit a floating farm on Cha Va River, Vung Tau, on Oct. 23 (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

During the working trip, the Cambodian officials took note about a fact that Vietnam has adapted foreign aquaculture techniques to local conditions. They also noted about the breeding, nursing and grow-out techniques.

The delegation chief, Mr. Nao Thuok, told Sai Gon Giai Phong that he expected more knowledge and experience exchange trips to Vietnam for Cambodian fisheries officials.

This visit took place as part of regional cooperation activities under the Technical Advisory Body on Fisheries Management of the Mekong River Commission Fisheries Program.

According to Cambodian statistics, the country’s overall fisheries production amounted to about 471,000 tons last year. Cambodia now has an estimated 1.4 million full-time fishermen and about 6 million people engaged in related activities and part-time fishing.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, in his National Fish Day speech he delivered on July 1, 2009, said that Cambodia's fisheries sector was accompanied by limited knowledge of modern fisheries technologies and limited public awareness of the importance of natural resources.

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By Tuong Thuy