Preah Sihanouk Rāja Buddhist University and Somaiya Vidyavihar University Sign Cooperation MoU

AKP Phnom Penh, March 19, 2023 –Preah Sihanouk Rāja Buddhist University (SBU) in Phnom Penh and Somaiya Vidyavihar University in Mumbai of India have reached a Memorandum of Understanding to boost learning and research among young Buddhist monks, students and staff.

The signing ceremony was held here this week under the presidency of H.E. Pen Vibol, Secretary of State at the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religious Affairs, H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India, and Preah Putdhavongsa Hou Chivneath, Deputy General Inspector of National Buddhist Education.

The MoU aims to create an academic platform to engage young students and faculty to develop capacity for supporting overall development of quality and modern system of education, pointed out a press release from the Embassy of India AKP received this morning.

The activities under the MoU include conducting cross-institutional research, faculty exchanges, and special projects with a focus on several disciplines of studies, it added.

According to the same source, capacity building through institutional linkages is one of the important areas of cooperation between India and Cambodia. In November 2022, an MoU was signed between Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur and Institute of Technology Cambodia for digitisation of Buddhist Heritage Sites. There is also an MoU between Jammu University and Preah Sihanouk Rāja Buddhist University since 2016. Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) have established a Chair for Buddhist and Sanskrit Studies at Preah Sihanouk Rāja Buddhist University and an ICCR visiting Professor from India is teaching at the University.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse

Cambodian PM: Nuclear War is Almost a Reality

AKP Phnom Penh, March 19, 2023 –Nuclear war is now almost a reality, noted Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant of arrest for Russian President Vladimir Putin recently.

“The world must be wary of nuclear war after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin, which Moscow has denied as an ‘absolutely unacceptable’ charge,” wrote the Cambodian Premier in an article released on his social media network this morning. “The ICC accusations against President Putin are a shocking political development, having far-reaching implications for geopolitics in Europe and the world, and not just war crimes.”

The arrest warrant will also complicate the peace-seeking process in the Ukraine war, especially before the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow, where he is expected to mediate for peace, he said, adding that China itself has also been accused of genocide in Xinjiang. “How can Putin negotiate peace when the other side threatens to arrest him?” he asked.

The ICC has currently 123 members, while major countries such as the U.S., Russia, India and China are not. President Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the ICC in 2019. The ICC has no authority to arrest any suspects without the cooperation of the respective governments. But this ICC’s arrest warrant will further divide the world as the world works together to address common global issues such as climate change and infectious diseases. “The ICC’s arrest warrant could spark a nuclear war,” he underlined.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen continued that he has never believed that nuclear war would take place despite the threat of nuclear weapons and he also encouraged all parties to be cautious about the use of nuclear weapons and to reduce talk about the use of nuclear weapons. But now there is a backlash from the other side in the form of an arrest warrant for President Putin, the only person with the right to order the fire of a nuclear weapon and the leader of a nuclear power with thousands of nuclear warheads.

“Did Putin agree to be arrested without confrontation? If Putin is arrested abroad, would the country’s authorities accept that their president is arrested? This is the point at which nuclear war is now almost a reality. Any threat to Putin is clear that a nuclear war will erupt and begin in Europe, and those at risk may be even the ICC headquarters, because the nuclear operation is not just 20-30 kilometres, but up to thousands of kilometres,” the Cambodian Prime Minister said.

On Mar. 17, 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and Ms. Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. They are allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, according to ICC.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse

Australia not committed to help US in event of conflict over Taiwan

Australia “absolutely” has not promised to support the US in any military conflict over Taiwan in return for a deal to acquire US nuclear-powered attack submarines, Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles said.

Asked whether Australia had given the US any commitment to help during a conflict over Taiwan in return for access to the submarines, Marles told ABC television on Sunday: “Of course not, and nor was one sought”.

He said there was “absolutely not” a quid pro quo obligation on Australia from the deal.

Australia, the US and Britain unveiled the multi-decade AUKUS project on Monday. Canberra is to buy the US Virginia-class military submarines, with Britain and Australia eventually producing and operating a new submarine class, SSN-AUKUS.

AUKUS $246 billion deal

Australia’s centre-left Labor government says the $246 billion (A$368 billion) deal is necessary given China’s military buildup in the region, which it has labelled the largest since World War Two.

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell said on Sunday he was confident a scheduled visit to China to meet his counterpart Wang Wentao would go ahead, despite AUKUS.

Farrell said last month the meeting was a signal that Australia-China relations were thawing.

He expressed hope for a visit to China by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this year, according to a government transcript of his interview with Sky News.

Under the AUKUS deal, which Asian allies welcomed but which Beijing has called an act of nuclear proliferation, the US will sell Australia three subs, built by General Dynamics, in the early 2030s, with an option for Australia to buy two more.

The AUKUS programme is to start with a $4 billion (A$6 billion) investment over the next four years to expand a submarine base and the country’s submarine shipyards and train skilled workers.

Australia is also set to provide $2 billion (A$3 billion) to expand US and British shipbuilding capacity, with most of that to speed up production of US Virginia-class submarines.