lørdag 8. februar 2020

China and Cambodia: Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, many countries are shutting down travel to and from China and warning their nationals to leave if possible. Cambodia, however, is taking the opposite approach. Prime Minister Hun Sen arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, making a highly public vote of confidence in China’s ability to control the epidemic. Earlier, in Cambodia, Hun Sen had slammed reporters at a press briefing for wearing face masks. “The prime minister doesn’t wear a mask, so why do you?” he demanded. The same brash fearlessness was on display in his China trip.

According to Xinhua, China’s state new agency, Hun Sen told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he had “decided to make a special visit to China with an aim to showcase Cambodia’s support to China in fighting the outbreak of the epidemic.” Chinese media repeatedly emphasized the “special” nature of Hun Sen’s visit, noting that he had decided to make the trip just before leaving — and presumably after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency.