Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Following US, EU withdrawal of funding, China to donate huge load of goods to NEC

Following US, EU withdrawal of funding, China to donate huge load of goods to NEC

Vehicles, equipment and supplies donated by China to the NEC at a handover ceremony in Phnom Penh last December. Fresh News
Vehicles, equipment and supplies donated by China to the NEC at a handover ceremony in Phnom Penh last December. Fresh News

Following US, EU withdrawal of funding, China to donate huge load of goods to NEC

China will donate more than 30 different kinds of equipment – including 60,000 polling booths and 15,000 ballot boxes – to the National Election Committee (NEC) ahead of next year’s general elections.

The pledge is the first of its kind since the European Union and United States withdrew their support of the election body after the Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party – the nation’s only viable opposition – in November.

China will provide 134 computers, 30 security cameras and a number of radios, printers and pieces of office furniture, according to the NEC.

NEC official Dim Sovannarom said the equipment is “very important to ensure the election can be held regularly, independently and transparently”. He added that he does not yet know the monetary value of the equipment.

China donated nearly $12 million worth of equipment to the NEC last year. The EU also pledged roughly $12 million to the NEC but withdrew its support earlier this month with roughly $1.5 million unspent, according to EU Ambassador George Edgar.

Sovannarom said the NEC made an appeal to other countries for assistance in early October and received confirmation from China on Sunday.

“Even though the EU suspended its assistance, we still receive assistance from the international community, especially China,” Sovannarom said.

China has been perhaps the only member of the international community to express its support of the government’s crackdown on the opposition, and in recent years Cambodia has embraced Chinese aid as it pivots away from the West.

Astrid Noren-Nilsson, an expert on Cambodian politics at Lund University, said China’s aid has historically been directed toward infrastructure projects, while the US and Europe have focused on democracy building.

The fact that China is stepping into electoral aid suggests Cambodia is rapidly turning closer to the Chinese political model, she said.

“In filling in where the US and EU pulled out, Beijing is making good of its promise to stick with the Cambodian government through thick and thin,” Noren-Nilsson said.

The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol