Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday threatened to retaliate against foreign visa sanctions by preventing overseas diplomats from entering the kingdom.
His warning came after the European Parliament on Thursday asked the European Commission and European External Action Service to restrict the issuing of visas to Cambodian officials and to freeze their assets.
The EU Parliament also wants a review of the human rights clauses in the Everything But Arms trade agreement to see if a temporary suspension of the deal is possible.
Their request came in response to the dissolution of the opposition CNRP and the detention of its leader Kem Sokha on treason charges.
Addressing 5,000 workers on Koh Pich yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said he was not worried about potential EU sanctions.
“Please go ahead with the visa restrictions because it will save Khmer people money,” he said. “They also need to enter our country, so we can put restrictions on them, too.”
“When they ask for visas we can reject them,” he added, saying Cambodia has relationships with many countries, and does not only depend on cooperation with the EU and United States.
“If they want to freeze peoples’ assets then please do. I encourage those who have money deposited abroad to take it out,” Mr Hun Sen said.
The US has already imposed visa restrictions on government officials over the dissolution of the CNRP.
Mr Hun Sen said he refused to bow his head and follow foreigners in order to receive their assistance.
“I represent the nation and I can’t do that,” he said. “It does not matter where those foreigners come from, I can’t do that, because I hate foreign invasions.”
“If we fall under the influence of foreigners it is the same as being a dog,” he added. “National sovereignty is very valuable. If they want to cut our aid then let them do that.”
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the government is unlikely to know how many officials have money in foreign bank accounts.
The Prime Minister said on Friday that some exiled Cambodian politicians want to encourage the EU to punish the CPP.
“I do not threaten them, I appeal to them: please stop this quickly,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“If foreign countries want to freeze the accounts of leaders of the CPP or other government officials, let them do it,” Mr Hun Sen also wrote on his Facebook page. “You can see my assets in our national pagodas, schools, orphanages, libraries, ponds, bridges and roads.”