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Cambodian PM vows to 'shame' Australia if pressured over politics

In a speech yesterday the notoriously brash leader said he would not tolerate any pressure on domestic politics when he attends ASEAN summit

AFP | PTI  |  Phnom Penh 

Combodia PM
Combodia PM

Cambodian has threatened to "shame" and block the release of a joint statement at a regional summit in next month if he faces pressure over a political crackdown at home.

The strongman has been chastised by Western countries for taking a hammer to Cambodia's democracy in recent months by dissolving the main opposition party, shuttering independent news outlets and pursuing critics in the courts.

In a speech yesterday the notoriously brash leader said he would not tolerate any pressure on domestic politics when he attends a summit of the 10-member (ASEAN) hosted by in March.

"can block the release of any statement between ASEAN and .. Australia cannot pressure Don't dare," he said of a regional bloc that operates by consensus.

"If you treat me inappropriately, I will hit back and leave shame on your face at the scene," added.

The also warned would-be protesters in Australia, where there is a sizeable population of Cambodian refugees from the years, not to burn his image in any demonstrations.

It would not be the first time has used its intransigence to block or dilute an ASEAN statement.

In 2012 ASEAN foreign ministers failed to release a joint communique for the first time at the end of their annual gathering, with the blaming event host for blocking criticism of Beijing's actions in the Sea.

Cambodia was also accused of forcing the group to water-down criticism of in a statement issued at the end of a 2016 meeting.

Cambodia's crackdown in recent months has pushed the country closer to China, which has lavished the country with cash, while rattling relations with the US and EU, who pulled support for July elections after the opposition was disbanded.

First Published: Thu, February 22 2018. 18:12 IST
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