Abstract

Abstract:

Cambodia has warmly embraced China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which provides Cambodian ruling elites with massive opportunities to extend their domestic authority while posing very little challenge. Although there is power asymmetry in Cambodia’s relationship with China, this does not mean that Cambodia is without agency. Cambodian elites have endeavored to manage the power asymmetry externally, while maximizing their authority internally through legitimization, co-option, and coercion. Cambodia has pursued a hedging approach to strengthen its bargaining power as well as to reduce the risks from overreliance on China. The BRI provides extensive material resources for the Cambodian elites to consolidate their power, as well as to stimulate economic growth and bolster the regime’s performance legitimacy, which is further complemented and augmented by nationalist legitimization vis-à-vis the West, Vietnam, and Thailand, challenges for which Beijing offers a politico-security umbrella.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2288-2871
Print ISSN
0258-9184
Pages
pp. 375-396
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-14
Open Access
No
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