et yourself a friend who sticks by your side like Hun Sen does for China.
The longtime Cambodian prime minister has declared that he is willing to visit Wuhan, the locked-down epicenter of the coronavirus that has killed 425 people, if China gives him the go-ahead.
“Hun Sen dares to fight the war. He dares to rescue the nation. Hun Sen dares to risk his life to end the war. Why wouldn’t Hun Sen dare to go to Wuhan city to visit Cambodian students? You don’t know what Hun Sen is capable of, so don’t dare him,” declared the Cambodian leader on Monday.
His comments stand in stark contrast to the actions of many other countries that have banned travelers from China and canceled flights to the country amid the Wuhan virus outbreak.
They come after Hun Sen said last week that Cambodian students in Wuhan would not be evacuated, explaining that such a move would create problems with China and was not something that a friend would do.
“We decided not to evacuate Cambodian students. Evacuating them would probably bring an end to opportunities for Cambodians to study there. China would stop offering scholarships,” he said.
“We are keeping them there to share [Chinese people’s] happiness and pain and to help them solve this situation.
“Don’t run away from the Chinese people during this difficult moment,” he continued. “Loving each other during the time of adversity, being good friends during these difficult circumstances. This is the slogan of Cambodia since our ancestral times.”
Hun Sen also rejected any talk of cutting off flights between China and Cambodia, charging that it would end up “killing” Cambodia’s hospitality and service industry.
“Canceling flights with China would not be an attack on China. It would be an attack on the Cambodian economy,” he said.
“It would strain relations between the countries. I don’t care what other countries think – Cambodia does not behave this way.”
Hun Sen has long been a friend of China, enthusiastically courting Chinese investment in his country. China now accounts for about 70 percent of foreign direct investment in Cambodia.
Chinese companies have won contracts to construct resorts and even skyscrapers around the country. Last year, a Chinese-owned building in Sihanoukville collapsed while under construction, killing 28 workers.
So far, Cambodia has only reported one case of the coronavirus — a Chinese man who traveled from Wuhan to Sihanoukville.