Cambodia’s China Strategy Security Dilemmas of Embracing the Dragon
This book explores the tensions within Cambodia’s foreign policy between a tight alignment with China, on the one hand, and Cambodia’s commitment to the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as its delicate foreign policy diversification towards other major powers, on the other hand. It traces the long history of Cambodia’s quest for survival from its bigger and historically antagonistic neighbours – the Thai and the Vietnamese – and its struggle for security and independence from the two neighbours and external major powers, particularly the United States and China. It discusses Cambodia’s geopolitical predicaments deriving from its location of being sandwiched between powerful neighbours and limited strategic options available for the Kingdom. The book also assesses recent developments in Cambodia’s relations with its neighbours and their implications for Cambodia’s increasingly tight alignment with China in recent years. It considers the extent to which the ruling regime in Cambodia depends on strong relations with China for its legitimacy and survival and argues that there are risks and danger for Cambodia in moving towards an increasingly tight alignment with China.
Introduction 1. Conceptual Frameworks: Small States and Strategic Options 2. History of Cambodia’s Search for Survival, 1431-1997 3. Cambodia-China Ties, 1997-2008: Hedging Against Risks 4. Revived Threats from Bigger Neighbours: Cambodia’s Increasing Alignment with China since 2008 5. China’s Growing Influence in Southeast Asia: Implications for Cambodia’s Strategic Direction 6. Cambodia and Major Powers: Limited Strategic Options 7. China and the Legitimacy of the Cambodian Ruling Party 8. Potential Risks and Costs of Cambodia’s Alignment with China 9. Overall Assessments and Policy Recommendations Conclusion