Before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan: Biden-Xi talks, Widido in China, Milley mets Andika
After the Chinese Communist Party and the Global Times announced „forceful measures“ in the event of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and this filled yesterday’s headlines, the CCP now seems to wait how Biden will positions himself. Apparently they want to defuse the Pelosi case with a Biden Xi call and discuss a broader agenda from the Ukraine war to the trade war. So before there are more headlines in the Global Times, they seem to wait for the conversation, while the Japanese Asashi Shimbum already writes the following about the possible agenda:
“U.S. says Biden-Xi call expected to cover Taiwan tensions, Ukraine
July 27, 2022 at 10:35 JST
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping are expected to talk on Thursday, a source familiar with the planning said, amid fresh tensions over Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday that managing economic competition between the two countries would also be a focus of the call.
It will be the fifth call between the leaders, and comes as China has delivered heightened warnings to the Biden administration about a possible visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to democratically governed Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.
„Everything from the tensions over Taiwan, to the war in Ukraine, as well as how we better manage competition between our two nations, certainly in the economic sphere,“ Kirby said of the topics to be discussed.
„This is a call that has been scheduled for a long time and there’s already a pretty robust agenda of things for these two leaders to talk about,“ he said.
Under its one-China policy, the United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is bound by U.S. law to provide the island with the means to defend itself. The White House has been quick to reiterate that stance has not changed despite speculation over a possible trip by Pelosi.
Kirby said that Pelosi is in the line of succession to the presidency and as such, her overseas travel was a matter of U.S. national security. But only she could make decisions about her travel.
„Bellicosity“ in rhetoric from Beijing over the potential trip only escalates tensions, he said.
„We find that unhelpful and certainly not in the least bit necessary given the situation,“ he said.
The administration has been debating whether to lift some tariffs on Chinese goods as a way to boost the U.S. economy, but Kirby said a decision was not expected ahead of the call.
The call comes as the U.S. Congress considers legislation known as the CHIPs act to provide about $52 billion in subsidies for the U.S. semiconductor industry, as well as an investment tax credit for chip plants estimated to be worth $24 billion, which Biden has urged as crucial for competing with China economically.
Biden referred to the planned call with Xi during virtual remarks urging passage of the legislation on Monday, telling reporters, „That’s my expectation, but I’ll let you know when that gets set up.“
The Senate is expected to vote on final passage in coming days and the U.S. House could follow suit as soon as later this week.
The prospect of Pelosi’s trip is only one in a long list of disagreements plaguing frayed U.S.-China relations.
Earlier on Tuesday, senior U.S. officials accused China of increased „provocations“ against rival territorial claimants in the South China Sea and said „aggressive and irresponsible behavior“ by Chinese ships and aircraft meant it was only a matter of time before a major incident or accident.
A trip by Pelosi would be the first by a House speaker since 1997, and China has said it is prepared to take strong measures in response.
Daniel Russel, who served as the top U.S. diplomat for Asia under former President Barack Obama, said the Taiwan issue had the makings of a real crisis, without any U.S.-China mechanism to prevent that from escalating into conflict.
He said it was not clear how much pressure the Biden administration was exerting on Pelosi, but Xi was likely to push hard on the issue in the call, and added: „We are in a high-risk moment and it behooves leaders in both countries to tread carefully.“
Nonetheless, Craig Singleton, a senior China fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Xi would likely seek to project calm as he faces a slowing economy under pressure from strict domestic COVID-19 measures ahead of a key Communist Party Congress in the fall.
„While Xi will be clear and direct in raising China’s objections about Speaker Pelosi’s trip, he will probably not allow that one issue to derail the entire conversation, as doing so would further complicate his already difficult governing agenda,“ Singleton said.
Biden quotes the US military, but does not express himself clearly. In addition, it appears that Biden hopes that the question of Pelosi’s visit will not derail the other agenda of the planned talks. Do the Chinese see it that way too? After all, the one China principle is not just any principle.
“Biden: Military say a Pelosi Taiwan trip ‘not a good idea’
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 21, 2022 at 11:35 JST
WASHINGTON–President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that U.S. military officials believe it’s “not a good idea” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan at the moment.
Biden’s comments in an exchange with reporters came a day after the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it would take “resolute and strong measures” should Pelosi proceed with reported plans to visit Taiwan in the coming weeks.
“Well, I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” Biden said in response to a question about Pelosi’s reported trip. “But I don’t know what the status of it is.”
The president stopped short of suggesting that Pelosi not travel to Taiwan.
Pelosi was originally scheduled to visit in April but had to postpone after she tested positive for COVID-19. She would be the highest-ranking American lawmaker to visit the close U.S. ally since Newt Gingrich, a Republican, traveled there 25 years ago when he was House speaker.
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Pelosi planned to move forward with her postponed visit to Taipei in the next month. Her office declined to comment, saying the office does not confirm or deny the speaker’s international travel in advance, due to longstanding security protocols.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang said such a visit would “severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gravely impact the foundation of China-U.S. relations and send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces.”
The U.S. has a longstanding commitment to the “One China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. China has stepped up its military provocations against democratic, self-ruled Taiwan in recent years as it looks look to intimidate it into accepting Beijing’s demands to unify with the communist mainland.
Biden also said that he expected to speak with Chinse President Xi Jinping sometime in the 10 next days.
Biden’s national security and economic aides are in the process of completing a review of the U.S. tariff policy and making recommendations to the president.
The tariffs imposed under President Donald Trump applied a 25% duty on billions of dollars of Chinese products. The penalties were intended to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and force China to adopt fairer practices.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called for eliminating some of those tariffs as a way to help fight inflation in the United States. Others in the Biden administration, including U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, have raised concerns about easing tariffs when China has not upheld its agreements on purchasing U.S. products.
Biden sidestepped a reporter’s question on Wednesday about what he might have to say to Xi about tariffs. “I’d tell him to have a good day,” Biden responded.
Biden and Xi have their differences over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s prosecution of his nearly 5-month-old war against Ukraine. Biden has sought to press the Chinese to resist directly providing economic or military assistance to Russia.
The main topic in the Global Times today is the visit of the Indonesian head of state Widido to Beijing. The Global Times is quite euphoric about Widodo’s visit to China. As the host of the G20 and next year as the chair of ASEAN, great importance is attached to this. Bandung 2.0? BRI, COVID, Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative (this is where the USA and Chief of Staff Milley, who just visited the Indonesian Chief of Staff Andika – maybe with the perspective of the emergency brake of a military coup, should Widido exaggerate, listen very closely), as well as a cooperation of Indonesia with the BRICS Plus are on the agenda and how to negotiate a new conduct for the South China Sea with ASEAN.
“China, Indonesia deepen ties, inject stability to region, world in international landscape full of uncertainties
By Cao Siqi , Wan Hengyi and Zhang Changyue Published: Jul 27, 2022 12:25 AM
In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday in Beijing, hailing a sound China-Indonesia relationship has positive, far-reaching regional and global impacts and stressing the strong commitment of the two sides to growing their bilateral ties as President Widodo is the first head of state China hosts after the Beijing Olympic Winter Games.
Xi pointed out that strategic mutual trust has been further consolidated, and the four-pillar cooperation, namely political, economic, people-to-people and maritime cooperation, has kept deepening. The two sides have acted proactively and with a strong sense of responsibility to maintain regional peace and stability and promote international unity and cooperation. They have thus set an example of major developing countries seeking strength through unity and win-win cooperation.
„Facts have proven that a sound China-Indonesia relationship not only serves the shared long-term interests of both countries, but also has positive, far-reaching impacts regionally and globally,“ Xi said.
The Chinese president called on the two sides to further deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation for more fruitful outcomes, strive for completing the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway on schedule and to high standards, continue to fully support Indonesia in building a regional vaccine production hub, step up public health cooperation with Indonesia and import more commodities and quality agro- and byproducts from Indonesia.
China and Indonesia need to stand together in solidarity, fulfill the responsibilities of major developing countries, follow true multilateralism, uphold open regionalism, and contribute Oriental wisdom and Asia’s input to the development of global governance, Xi said.
President Widodo said that in an international landscape full of uncertainties, the sound cooperation between Indonesia and China has demonstrated the strategic nature of the bilateral relations. It adds positive energy to the region and the entire world. Indonesia will work with China to keep deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership and make still greater contribution to regional peace and global development. Indonesia admires China’s remarkable accomplishments in poverty alleviation and wants to draw on China’s successful experience.
According to a joint statement released after the talks, the two state leaders hailed the two countries‘ cooperation on fighting COVID-19 and achievements in economic recovery. Indonesia wishes the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China a complete success and will lead China toward the second centennial goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects, while China wishes Indonesia well in achieving its goal of becoming a developed country by 2045, the centenary year of its founding.
The two heads of state agreed to set the general direction of building a China-Indonesia community with a shared future, set an example of mutual benefit, common development and pioneering of South-South cooperation among major developing countries. The two heads of state designated the foreign ministers of the two countries to further discuss the elements and principles of a community with a shared future.
This is Widodo’s first trip to East Asia since the onset of the pandemic, and China is the first stop.
Chinese experts believed that the Indonesian president’s visit is expected to set the standard for the future development of bilateral relations. At a time when the world is in turmoil, crises are emerging one after another and great power competition is intensifying, strengthening the unity and cooperation between China and Indonesia as major developing countries will also inject stability into an unstable world.
More importantly, given Indonesia is at the presidency of the G20 this year and will be the rotating ASEAN chair next year, the significance of this ongoing visit goes far beyond bilateral ties － it highlights the unity and collaboration of developing countries in offsetting the besiege of the small US-led clique and becoming the stabilizer of the world.
New growth opportunities
In the joint statement, the two state leaders acknowledged mutual achievements and pointed to future direction of cooperation on trade, food security, digital economy, educational exchange, vaccine development and maritime projects.
„Widodo’s visit is bound to bring new economic growth opportunities to both countries and even the entire region, including the implementation of new economic projects, so as to further expand the space for economic cooperation,“ Tang Qifang, an associate research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
In recent years, the mutual political trust between the two countries has reached a new height. The top leaders of the two countries have spoken six times via phone since the COVID-19 outbreak. Economic and trade cooperation has made breakthroughs from quantity to quality. In terms of volume, trade between the two countries has doubled from less than $50 billion to more than $100 billion in the eight years since Widodo took office in 2014. The Belt and Road cooperation is marching toward a higher quality and sustainable development. Additionally, people-to-people and cultural exchanges have become closer.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the bilateral trade volume between China and Indonesia reached $124.34 billion in 2021, up 58.4 percent year-on-year. China has been Indonesia’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years and its largest export destination for six consecutive years, according to the data from the Chinese customs.
Cooperation between China and Indonesia, the largest and third largest developing countries in the world, will definitely inject more momentum of promoting world peace, a more justified and reasonable international order and the global economic recovery, Xu Liping, a research fellow on Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
More and more facts have proven that China, united with developing countries, has become the stabilizer of the world and the backbone of justice, the expert said.
Luo Yongkun, deputy director of Institute of Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that the developed world, mostly Western countries, are into a mind-set of geopolitical containment and confrontation, which bring about only chaos when the world faces challenges. On the contrary, the developing countries, like China and Indonesia, are addressing problems with a perspective of development, growth and multilateralism, injecting more positivity to the world.
During the visit, the two countries renewed the MOU on cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Maritime Fulcrum, and signed cooperation documents on joint research on vaccines and genes, green development, information exchange and law enforcement, cybersecurity capacity building, maritime affairs, and the export of Indonesian pineapples to China.
During the talks, Xi also said China welcomes Indonesia’s continued active participation in „BRICS Plus“ cooperation and appreciates Indonesia’s support for and commitment to the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and is ready for closer communication and cooperation with Indonesia in this regard.
„As the two initiatives are important solutions China proposed to the changing world, including them in China-Indonesia ties shows China’s firm support to Indonesia,“ said Zhang Jie, director of National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The fruitful visit will have a strong demonstration effect as the consensus reached and commitments made by the two state leaders can strongly boost market confidence and bring encouragement to Southeast Asian countries, Zhang told the Global Times.
Never give up firm stand
Some Western media have made a lot of „weird“ theories about Widodo’s visit to China, claiming that the visit is a „dinner party“ and reflects the reality of the competition between China and the US for influence in Southeast Asia.
„Widodo’s visit is showing to the world that the ASEAN will never give up its firm stand under the pressure of the small US-led clique and their economic and security inducement,“ Tang said.
Indonesia and other ASEAN members together launched the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which put forward ASEAN’s position of independence from other major powers and insisted on its own interests. This framework envisages ASEAN centrality as the underlying principle for promoting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and avoiding the deepening of mistrust, miscalculation, and patterns of behavior based on a zero-sum game, according to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Chinese analysts stressed that the fundamental difference between the model of cooperation between China and Indonesia and other ASEAN members and the Western model is that China does not apply political pressure, but only seeks common interests to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation, so that ASEAN members will feel fully respected.
While the US stirs up confrontation in the name of cooperation, China is earnestly promoting integrated development in the region and the world, they said.
One day ahead of Widodo’s visit, a Workshop on the 20th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was held in Beijing on Monday. Officials from China and ASEAN members hailed the DOC as an important landmark document that has played a huge role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea over the past 20 years
Hong Liang, director general of the Department of Border and Ocean Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that in the face of external challenges, China and ASEAN members have an important consensus that the fate of peace and stability in the South China Sea should be firmly held in their own hands. Only when the South China Sea remains peaceful and stable can countries in the region enjoy a sound environment for development, and that is what the DOC is all about.”
While Widido is in Beijing and being ensnared there, the US Chief of Staff Milley visited the Indonesian Chief of Staff Andik. Indonesia, despite its ties with China, appears to be emphasizing the US presence as a counterweight to China’s growing greed in the Pacific. And should Widido or any other Indonesian politician threaten to openly defect to the Chinese camp or even authorize a Chinese military base in Indonesia, there is always the possibility that perhaps a courageous military coup would preempt the whole thing—much like the Suharto coup in 1965. Maybe a military group around Andik ight be the perspective and Andik the right man in the future for the worst case. For the time being, however, the USA is watching and hoping for the best, especially since even the Beijing-friendly Philippine President Duterte, who has now been replaced by Marcos´s son Bongbong, did not give China a military base or a kind of Chinese Subic Bay, even if this was Beijing’s dream , which is why it is looking at Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Solomon Islands for the time being.
“USA: China’s military is becoming more aggressive and dangerous
Washington is trying to strengthen its alliances in the Pacific. According to General Mark Milley, Beijing’s attempts to expand its influence are „not benign“. Jakarta – For some time, the Chinese Communist Party has harbored a desire to replace the United States as the world’s leading power. To do this, however, it is important to improve enormously in all respects. The Chinese military, for example, has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous in the past five years, said US military chief General Mark Milley during a trip to the Indo-Pacific region that included a stop in Indonesia. General Milley, also chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday (July 24, 2022) that the number of Chinese planes and ships intercepted in the Pacific region increased significantly during this period. The number of so-called unsafe interactions has also increased to a similar extent. „The message is that the Chinese military has become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in the air and at sea in this region,“ Milley said. He recently asked his staff to compile details of interactions between China and the US and other countries in the region.
China threat: US stresses importance of free and open Pacific
Milley made the comments on his way to a meeting with Indonesian defense ministers in Jakarta. They come as Indonesian President Joko Widodo is preparing for a two-day visit to Beijing, where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday (July 25, 2022). It is the first time in two years that a foreign head of state will be received individually by Beijing, apart from the Winter Olympics in February. The Chinese threat is the focus of Milley’s trip to the region. He will attend a meeting of Indo-Pacific defense ministers in Australia next week. There, China’s escalating military growth and the need to maintain a free, open, and peaceful Pacific region are said to be the main issues. US warns of Chinese invasion of Taiwan US military officials have also warned of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan — possibly by 2027. China has stepped up military provocations against the self-governing island in a bid to intimidate it into unifying with the communist mainland. In addition, the US and other countries are concerned that a recent security deal with the Solomon Islands, signed by Beijing in April, could lead to the establishment of a Chinese naval base in the South Pacific. The US and Australia have told the Solomon Islands that the establishment of a Chinese military base would not be tolerated. The Biden administration has taken steps to strengthen its military and security ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. This is part of a campaign aimed at building a stronger network of alliances in China’s backyard and countering China’s growing influence.
Pacific states like Indonesia want more US military presence in the region
Milley, who met with Indonesia’s military chief Gen. Andika Perkasa on Sunday, said Pacific nations like Indonesia want the US military to get involved and deploy in the region. „We want to work with them to develop interoperability and modernize our armed forces together,“ Milley said. This is to ensure they are „up to any challenge China throws at them.“ Indonesia is strategically important to the region and a long-time partner of the US, as Milley also clarified. Indonesia: Great reception for US General Milley Milley spent the afternoon at the Indonesian Armed Forces headquarters in Jakarta. He was greeted with a huge poster with his photo and name, a military parade and a big TV screen showing a video about his career. At the end of the visit, Andika told reporters that Indonesia had noticed that China was more assertive and „a little aggressive“ with naval vessels in connection with territorial disputes with its country.“
A good overview about Chinese- Indonesian trade and economic relations is he following artcle in the South China Morning Post:
“China-Indonesia trade: how important is it, and what are the main exports?
- In 2021, bilateral trade between Indonesia and China grew by 58.6 per cent from the previous year to US$124.4 billion
- China has been the biggest export destination for Indonesia for the past six years, especially its mineral resources
China, Indonesia vow stronger ties as President Joko Widodo tours East Asia
Indonesian president Joko Widodo became the first foreign leader to hold a face-to-face meeting with President Xi Jinping since February on Tuesday.
China is Indonesia’s biggest trade partner and a major source of foreign investment, while China relies on Southeast Asia’s largest economy for mineral resources and sees it as a key partner in the Belt and Road Initiative, its globe-spanning trade and infrastructure project.
In 2021, bilateral trade grew by 58.6 per cent from the previous year to US$124.4 billion, with Chinese exports increasing by 48.1 per cent to US$60.7 billion and imports jumping by 70.1 per cent to US$63.8 billion, official Chinese data showed.
Mainland China was the third-largest foreign investor in Indonesia last year – after Singapore and Hong Kong – accounting for 10 per cent of total inward foreign direct investment, according to the country’s Investment Coordinating Board.
What does China import from Indonesia?
China has been the biggest export destination for Indonesia for the past six years.
Mineral resources, metal ore and steel are the major commodities exported by Indonesia to China.
Thanks to rising commodity prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the value of China’s imports from Indonesia in the first six months of the year rose by 34.2 per cent year on year to US$35.4 billion.
China imported 67 million tonnes of coal from Indonesia in the first half of 2022, worth US$7.96 billion, making it the top commodity import, Chinese customs data showed.
This was largely made up of lignite, or brown coal, used for power generation, although it is considered of poor quality due to its relatively low heat content.
Between two superpowers: Indonesia’s position in the US-China rivalry
China is increasingly reliant on Indonesian coal, especially after a trade dispute erupted with Australia in late 2020.
In January, Indonesia banned coal exports to prioritise domestic supply, stoking fears of an energy supply shortage in the world’s No 2 economy.
China also bought 2.3 million tonnes of ferronickel – an alloy of iron and nickel that is the main raw material in stainless steel – worth US$6 billion from Indonesia in the first half of this year, accounting for 91 per cent of its overall ferronickel imports.
Indonesia’s animal and vegetable fats and oils were also in high demand too, with China importing US$2.4 billion worth in the first six months of the year.
What does Indonesia buy from China?
In the first half of the year, the value of China’s exports to Indonesia increased by 25.7 per cent to US$34.3 billion, led by mechanical and electrical devices.
Indonesia bought 9.68 million Chinese smartphones from January to June, worth US$961 million.
In the first quarter of the year, Chinese brands OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi and Realme took four of the top five spots in Indonesia’s smartphone market, accounting for more than 60 per cent of market share, according to data from International Data Corporation, a market intelligence provider.
Russia promises to open sea route for Ukrainian wheat, says Indonesian president
What are the major Chinese investments in Indonesia?
Indonesia is China’s second largest investment destination in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) after Singapore.
In 2021, China’s non-financial direct investment in Indonesia was US$1.86 billion, up 1.5 per cent year on year, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The main areas of Chinese investment in Indonesia are mining and metallurgy, agriculture, electricity, real estate, home appliances and electronics and digital economy.
Tsingshan Holding Group, one of the world’s biggest nickel and stainless steel producers, has invested in a 2,000-hectare (5,000 acres) industrial estate in Morowali in Central Sulawesi province, which contains smelting plants and coal-fired power stations.
Elsewhere, a Beijing-backed high-speed railway project from Jakarta to Bandung has been dogged with problems since it began in 2017 and is facing a cost overrun of nearly US$2 billion. Its completion has been pushed back to 2023.
Despite the close economic ties, there is long-standing mistrust in Indonesia about Chinese investment and Chinese Indonesians have been subject to discrimination for decades.
Interesting that China used Indonesian coal to replace the Australian coal which was sanctioned. However, now Indonesia bans the coal exports as it needs them for the own energy consumption. Looks like the energy crisis is not limited to a few countries. In the same SCMP another article is published which reports that the CCP is rethinking the coal embargo against Australia.
While the USA is trying to prevent Chinese military bases in Sri Lanka and the Solomon Islands, especially since there have now been mass protests in Sri Lanka and the President has fled, but now the military is intervening, the US Senate is now planning a law that sanctions against the dictator of Cambodia Hun Sen, as well as wants to declare all previous elections illegitimate and void, calls for the reinstatement of the opposition parties and warns of the danger of a Chinese military base:
“‘Dismay’ on new US bill’s democracy accusations
Ry Sochan | Publication date 24 July 2022 | 20:22 ICT
The Kingdom’s Senate was “utterly dismayed” when the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed the Cambodia Democracy and Human Rights Act 2022 (S.3052) last week claiming that Cambodia’s elections have not been free and fair.
The bipartisan bill, introduced by Florida’s Senator from the Republican Party Marco Rubio and Massachusetts’ Senator Ed Markey from the Democratic Party, claimed to support democracy and the protection of human rights in Cambodia. It also touched on alleged Chinese military activity inside the country.
The bill demanded that the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) be reinstated, and its leaders allowed to return. It also proposed sanctions, including visa sanctions for individuals that the US president determined were responsible for damage to democracy in Cambodia.
The claims were rejected outright by the Cambodian Senate.
“The spokesperson of the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia is utterly dismayed at and emphatically dismisses the biased, unfounded and prejudiced content of the Cambodia Democracy and Human Rights Act 2022,” the Kingdom’s Senate said in a statement.
The bill claimed that none of the six Cambodian elections since 1991 have been free and fair. It also alleged fraud, intimidation, violence and the misuse of legal mechanisms by the Cambodian government to weaken candidates and opposition parties.
“In the July 2018 general election, after the dissolution of the [CNRP], the Cambodian People’s Party won every single parliamentary seats – an election victory described by the White House press secretary as not being free or representative of the will of the Cambodian people,” it said.
The Kingdom’s Senate countered that the opposite was true.
“Claiming that none of Cambodia’s elections were free and fair is a gross denial of the facts. The US observer team headed by the late Congressman Stephen Solarz portrayed the 1998 election as a ‘miracle on the Mekong’,” it said, adding that subsequent elections in Cambodia have all been assessed by thousands of national and international observers as free, fair, peaceful and orderly.
The statement continued that likewise thousands of local and foreign monitors characterised the June 5 commune council elections contested by 17 political parties as fair and transparent, free of threats, and in compliance with international standards.
The legislation proposed by the US Senators subscribed excessively to contested sources, particularly Human Rights Watch whose credibility had been compromised since 2004, it added.
“The approach taken by the Senate Committee constitutes interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, and hinders the ongoing maintenance of peace, political stability and the promotion of socio-economic development for all,” it concluded.”
.Hun Sen could make the fun of questioning the US elections when Donald Trump is already doing that and Al Gore was suing Bush W. jr in the Supreme Court at the time. Furthermore, the Republicans are just passing new electoral laws that are very controversial, as well as constituencies being tailored in favor of the Republicans. Is everything legal and democratic? And what about the decisions of the US Supreme Court?