Cambodia. During the summer, an old conflict flared up again between K. and Thailand over the right to the area around the Preah Vihear temple at the border between the two neighboring countries. The triggering factor was the UN agency UNESCO’s decision in July to place the old Khmer temple on the organization’s World Heritage List. Already in 1962, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Preah Vihear is Cambodian, but the border demarcation in the area remained unclear and Thai nationalists have found it difficult to accept the verdict. When the Cambodian military in July seized three Thai protesters who crossed the border, a military escalation began on both sides. At the same time, military leaders and politicians met to resolve the emergency situation. Only in August were most soldiers withdrawn after talks at political and military levels.
In October, the tensions at Preah Vihear rose again when three Cambodian soldiers and one Thai soldier were killed in a gunfire across the border. At the end of the same month, the two countries agreed to resolve the border conflict peacefully “for the sake of the neighbor.”
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of KH in general and in geography as Cambodia in particular.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won a confident victory in the general elections held in July. Independent international election observers, including the EU, said that while the electoral process was deficient and did not meet international standards, the election was still much calmer and more free and fairer than before. In addition, the CPP’s victory was so great that these shortcomings could not change the fact that the ruling party won the election.
The CPP received 58 percent of the vote (90 of the 123 seats), while opposition party Sam Rainsy’s party received 22 percent (26 seats). Then came the Human Rights Party with 6 percent (3 seats), Norodom Ranariddh’s party with 5 percent (2 seats) and FUNCINPEC also with 5 percent (2 seats). The turnout was 75 percent.
Hun Sens’s victory was believed to be due to the country’s good economic development in recent years as well as CPP’s tight control over both the media and the state administration. In addition, Hun Sens’s way of handling the conflict over Preah Vihear benefited him in the election. Hun Sen and CPP have won all elections since 1993.
The legal proceedings against five representatives of the Red Khmer regime (1975-78) continued during the year at the UN-supported tribunal in Phnom Penh, but no judgments fell. The tribunal, which was affected by major delays in its work as well as by suspicions of corruption, was reported to be in short supply of financial resources. The donor countries were reportedly hesitant to give more money because of the corruption charges.
The July 2008 parliamentary elections were won by Cambodia’s People’s Party, which received 58% of the vote. FUNCINPEC had to settle for 5%, while the second largest party was Sam Rainsy with 22%.
It came to a diplomatic crisis between Thailand and Cambodia in mid-2008, when Cambodia wanted the Preah Vihear temple area on UNESCO’s list of conservation-worthy buildings. It was a Khmer temple built 1000 years ago, but located in northern Thailand. After another conflict over the temple in 1962, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the area should belong to Cambodia, but the verdict was never enforced. UNESCO included the area on its list, but both countries drew troops to the border. The conflict flared up again in April 2009, when two Thai soldiers died following a clash at the border. In 2011, it came to new military meetings. The International Court of Justice issued a ruling in July stating that both countries should withdraw their military forces from the area, but that was only partially done.
Cambodia had one of the world’s highest economic growth rates in 2000-10 with 7.7% annual growth. Part of this was due to tourism, which in 1997-2007 doubled to more than DKK 2 million. annual tourists. Another was due to extensive Chinese investment in the country. In the first seven months alone, China planned to invest $ 8 billion. US $ in 360 different projects. A third is due to the rapid development of the textile industry, which in 2012 accounted for 80% of the country’s exports. In 2013, the factories employed 335,400 workers and were almost exclusively owned by people from other Southeast Asian countries. Finally, the country has significant potential for oil and gas extraction. However, the recovery is curbed by territorial disputes with Thailand over the right to the sea area in the Gulf of Siam. The biggest impediment to continued economic growth is the low level of education.
In August 2011, the World Bank announced that it had ceased lending to Cambodia since December 2010, as no agreement had yet been reached with the remaining residents of Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh. Since 2008, nearly 4,000 families had been displaced from the area.
In October, the government issued a temporary ban on women leaving for work in Malaysia, after numerous attacks against Cambodian women and girls who had traveled to Malaysia to work as maids were revealed. 40-50,000 Cambodian women and girls have since 2008 traveled to Malaysia to work as maids.
In May 2013, Hun Sen stated that he wanted to continue to lead the country for another 13 years. He had already been prime minister for 28 years.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Cambodia in 2008 was 14,312,101, ranking number 69 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.520% yearly, and the population density was 81.0798 people per km2.