Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tea Banh slams EBA meddlers

Tea Banh slams EBA meddlers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of National Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh. Heng Chivoan

Tea Banh slams EBA meddlers

Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh on Wednesday criticised those urging foreign countries to cancel Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trade preferences with the EU, saying they were looking for a “colour revolution”.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 military training exercises at the National Defence University in the capital, Tea Banh said that calling for EBA to be removed was an anti-government, revolutionary act.

“Any pressure or sanctions is a contribution to a colour revolution. It is only contributing to meet their own aims, including demanding that detainees be released, even those found guilty by the court,” he said.

Banh also accused sections of the opposition party of fabricating accounts about the reality of life in Cambodia when appealing to foreign countries to pressure the government.

“Those countries are easily being deceived by the opposition’s lies. They lie that Cambodia has no democracy and does not respect human rights."

“Then the foreign countries simply believe it immediately. They talk among themselves that Cambodia needs to change. But we have been a democracy for 20 years, we have consistently respected democracy,” he said.

Banh’s comments come as the EU looks increasingly likely to withdraw Cambodia’s EBA preferential agreement, which allows the Kingdom to import goods into the bloc tax-free – over what it says is a decline in democratic standards in recent years.

The European Commission recently also imposed tariffs on Cambodian and Myanmar rice this month to protect European rice farmers, in another economic measure set to harm the Kingdom’s economy.

These were moves championed by the former opposition leader and “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy, who sees economic measures by the international community as a means of getting the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to make political concessions.

The director-general of the Institute of International Relations of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, Kin Phea, said the CNRP always asked the international community to take action against the Cambodian government.

He said countries putting pressure or imposing sanctions on Cambodia did so due to political motivations, and not due to their interests of democracy.

“They have their political agenda. I am not saying it’s contributing to a colour revolution in Cambodia, but maybe those countries have their geopolitical interests in the region."

“We cannot take orders from those countries to do as they wish us to do. If countries impose sanctions or economic pressure on Cambodia to follow their political direction it means they are interfering in Cambodia’s internal affairs and violating our sovereignty as an independent state and a member of the UN. This is contrary to international law and the UN’s charter,” Phea said.

He said it was vital that the Cambodian government strengthens its internal political and economic structures so that it can resist such calls.

“We ourselves must have a strong political, economic and military situation. If we do not have any economic and political weaknesses and do not depend too much on them, then they cannot put pressure on us,” he stressed.


  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong