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Hun Manet: Cambodia’s rising son



Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, speaks at the delegation meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (r) and Dörte Dinger (l), Head of the Office of the Federal President, at the Peace Palace, the Prime Minister's official residence, Cambodia, 15 February 2023 (Photo: REUTERS/Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

Author: Charles Dunst, CSIS

Three out of four Cambodians have never known life without Hun Sen. The Prime Minister, currently the longest serving one in the world, came into power during the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in 1985. Some 75 per cent of Cambodians were born after that.

But Hun Sen is only 70 or 71 years old and appears to be in reasonably good health. There is no reason to think that he will disappear from the scene any time soon.

There are, however, some indications that he is planning to hand control of Cambodia to his eldest son, Hun Manet, the 44 year old general and commander of the Royal Cambodian Army. This handoff could occur sooner than expected — perhaps following the July 2023 elections in which Hun Sen will almost surely further cement his and the Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) grip on power.

Any handoff to Hun Manet will be carefully managed, with Hun Sen likely to remain CPP President. Either way, US and allied officials would be wise to begin considering how this transition will play out, as well as what Cambodia with Hun Manet — and eventually without Hun Sen — will look like.

And while there is no guarantee that Hun Manet’s ascension will go smoothly given Cambodian youth displeasure with his father’s governance, the Hun clan is currently riding a high: people credit Hun Sen for effectively managing the COVID-19 crisis, engineering two successful meetings with US President Joe Biden and maintaining a positive economic trajectory.

The chance that Hun Sen’s handover to Hun Manet will prompt significant public outrage in the short term is thus somewhat low. There will certainly be displeasure in Phnom Penh, where the country’s democratic-minded elite are based. But close to 80 per cent of Cambodians are subsistence farmers more concerned with the provision of public goods than the concept of democracy.

The pliability of Cambodia’s majority could enable a smoother transition to Hun Manet. Yet the princeling remains likely to face some opposition from CPP elites who want power for themselves or their children. When Hun Sen said in December 2022 that Hun Manet would succeed him, leaders like Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Defence Minister Tea Banh hesitated to offer their endorsements.

Hun Sen may have promised CPP leaders that their children would receive plum posts in the next generation of Hun clan leadership. The government has already replaced former agriculture minister Veng Sakhon with Dith Tina, the son of Supreme Court justice and Hun Sen backer Dith Munty.

More generational promotions seem likely after the Hun clan and the CPP sweep to victory in July 2023. These moves could perhaps quell some internal party challenges to Hun Manet, although not all officials will be satisfied. Hun Sen himself may also struggle to step away from the only post he has known for nearly four decades.

Still, some foreign officials are already beginning to hedge their bets by building ties with Hun Manet: the commanders of the Australian and New Zealand armies met with him in October 2022.

But if it is relatively clear that Hun Manet will eventually rule Cambodia, it is unclear how he will do so. There is a long-held notion that Hun Manet — who attended the US Military Academy at West Point, New York University and the United Kingdom’s University of Bristol — will be more friendly to the West and its partners than his father. While that might be somewhat true, it is hard to imagine that Hun Manet will fully reorientate Cambodia in the way the West might like, particularly if Hun Sen remains influential behind the scenes.

The fact remains that if Hun Manet comes to power, he will have done so in a nondemocratic way. This makes it difficult for any US administration to rebuild ties with Phnom Penh, given long-running congressional frustration with the Hun clan. It will be difficult for Hun Manet to extend an olive branch to Washington and its allies, particularly if human rights violations and Chinese developments at the Ream naval base continue.

In the long term, though, Western policymakers will likely find Hun Manet a preferable partner to his father. Hun Manet has no personal or historical disdain for the United States, suggesting a greater potential for partnership than there has been with Hun Sen.

But because Hun Manet lacks the charisma and political legitimacy of his father, he will likely focus on issues that could garner him popular support — like economic development and the provision of public goods. That focus will probably lead…

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China Unveils Plan to Upgrade Industrial Equipment



China unveiled a comprehensive action plan for upgrading industrial equipment, with a focus on driving technological innovation and economic growth. The plan, released on April 9, 2024, aims to enhance competitiveness and sustainability within the manufacturing sector through extensive investment and regulatory support.

China announced an ambitious action plan for industrial equipment upgrading, which aims to drive technological innovation and economic growth through extensive investment and regulatory support.

On April 9, 2024, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and six other departments jointly released a notice introducing the Implementation Plan for Promoting Equipment Renewal in the Industrial Sector (hereafter referred to as the “action plan”).

Finalized earlier on March 23, 2024, this comprehensive action plan addresses critical issues related to technological innovation and economic development. It reflects China’s proactive stance in enhancing competitiveness and sustainability within its manufacturing sector. The initiative underscores the recognition of industrial equipment upgrading as a top policy priority.

The scope of China’s action plan to upgrade industrial equipment in manufacturing, is extensive, covering various aspects such as:

In line with China’s ambitious goals for industrial modernization and sustainable development, the action plan outlines several key objectives aimed at driving substantial advancements in the industrial sector by 2027.

These objectives encompass a wide range of areas, from increasing investment to enhancing digitalization and promoting innovation, including:

The objectives and key actions proposed in the action plan are summarized below.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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China deepens engagement with new Indonesian president as top diplomat visits Jakarta



China’s top diplomat met the outgoing Indonesian president and his successor in Jakarta on Thursday, as Beijing deepened its engagement with future leader Prabowo Subianto, amid a competition for regional influence with the United States.

The meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was part of a joint commitment to advance the partnership between the two countries, said Prabowo, who visited Beijing in early April after his landslide win in the February general election.

“It is a great honor for me to welcome him [Wang] today. Thank you for the kind reception I received in Beijing a few weeks ago,” Prabowo said, according to an Indonesian defense ministry statement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Prabowo to visit, and the latter accepting the invitation raised eyebrows in Indonesia because no president-elect had made a foreign visit such as this one without being sworn in. China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner.

Wang, too, mentioned Prabowo’s Beijing trip, according to the same statement.

“We really appreciate and welcome Defense Minister Prabowo’s visit to China,” he said.

“We are committed to continuing to increase bilateral cooperation with Indonesia, both in the defense sector and other fields such as economic, social and cultural.”

Wang is scheduled to go to East Nusa Tenggara province on Friday to attend the China-Indonesia High-Level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism, a process to support more effective bilateral cooperation. His Jakarta stop was the first of a six-day tour that also includes Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi attend a press conference after their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, April 18, 2024. (Eko Siswono Toyudho/ BenarNews)

Prabowo and Wang discussed cooperation in the defense industry and sector, with potential measures such as educational and training collaboration, as well as joint exercises, said Brig. Gen. Edwin Adrian Sumantha, spokesman at the Indonesian defense ministry.

In fact, the ministry statement said that “China is Indonesia’s close partner and has had close bilateral relations, especially in the defense sector, for a long time.”

Of course, China has also invested billions of U.S. dollars in infrastructure projects in Indonesia, including as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative – the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train, which began commercial operations in October 2023, is one such BRI project.

The two countries have drawn closer during outgoing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s two terms, and Beijing would like that to continue as the U.S. tries to catch up with China’s gargantuan influence in Southeast Asia, analysts have said.

Indonesia, China call for ceasefire in Gaza

Both Indonesia and China shared the same position on Israel’s devastating attacks on Gaza, said Wang’s Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.

Israel’s air and ground strikes have killed more than 33,000 Palestinians following the Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which killed around 1,100 Israelis.

“We … have the same view regarding the importance of a ceasefire in Gaza and resolving the Palestinian problem fairly through two state solutions,” Retno told reporters in a joint press conference after meeting with Wang. 

“Indonesia will support full Palestinian membership in the U.N. Middle East stability will not be realized without resolving the Palestinian issue.”

For his part, Wang slammed Washington for repeatedly vetoing resolutions calling for Israel to end the attacks on the Palestinian territory it occupies.

“The conflict in Gaza has lasted for half a year and caused a rare humanitarian tragedy in the 21st century,” Wang told the media at the same press conference, according to the Associated Press.

“The United Nations Security Council responded to the call of the international community and continued to review the resolution draft on the cease-fire in Gaza, but it was repeatedly vetoed by the United States.”

The conflict in the Middle East offered a strategic opportunity for China to further expand its influence in Southeast Asia, said Muhamad Arif, a lecturer in international relations at the University of Indonesia.

“China is trying to strengthen its position as a key player in the region,” Arief told BenarNews.

China could present an alternative approach to the conflict in Gaza, he said, which may find approval in Southeast Asia’s largest country, Indonesia, and other Mulism-majority states in the region, such as Malaysia and Brunei.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news organization.

Read the rest of this article here >>> China deepens engagement with new Indonesian president as top diplomat visits Jakarta

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New Publication: A Guide for Foreign Investors on Navigating China’s New Company Law



The sixth revision of China’s Company Law is the most extensive amendment in history, impacting foreign invested enterprises with stricter rules on capital injection and corporate governance. Most FIEs must align with the New Company Law by July 1, 2024, with a deadline of December 31, 2024 for adjustments. Contact Dezan Shira & Associates for assistance.

The sixth revision of China’s Company Law represents the most extensive amendment in its history. From stricter capital injection rules to enhanced corporate governance, the changes introduced in the New Company Law have far-reaching implications for businesses, including foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) operating in or entering the China market.

Since January 1, 2020, the Company Law has governed both wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) and joint ventures (JVs), following the enactment of the Foreign Investment Law (FIL). Most FIEs must align with the provisions of the New Company Law from July 1, 2024, while those established before January 1, 2020 have bit more time for adjustments due to the five-year grace period provided by the FIL. The final deadline for their alignment is December 31, 2024.

In this publication, we guide foreign investors through the implications of the New Company Law for existing and new FIEs and relevant stakeholders. We begin with an overview of the revision’s background and objectives, followed by a summary of key changes. Our in-depth analysis, from a foreign stakeholder perspective, illuminates the practical implications. Lastly, we explore tax impacts alongside the revisions, demonstrating how the New Company Law may shape future business transactions and arrangements.

If you or your company require assistance with Company Law adjustments in China, please do not hesitate to contact Dezan Shira & Associates. For more information, feel free to reach us via email at


This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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