China's foreign minister has urged Cambodia to resolve its ongoing political deadlock and quickly form a new government.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was on a visit to the country, made his remarks Wednesday in Phnom Penh following meetings with his counterpart, Hor Namhong, and Prime Minister Hun Sen, amid a political crisis following last month's national elections.
China's official Xinhua news agency said Wang congratulated Hun Sen on an election victory for his Cambodian People's Party, despite ongoing protests by the opposition, which has rejected preliminary results showing a CPP win. Reporters were not allowed questions during the briefing.
"China is a good friend and good partner of Cambodia," Wang said through an interpreter. "We hope that all [the] parties of Cambodia will peacefully discuss [the situation] in order to quickly put in place a new National Assembly and new government," he said.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party says last month's election voting was deeply flawed and marred by irregularities. This has raised the prospect of a political deadlock, with the opposition threatening to boycott the National Assembly and calling for mass demonstrations if a proper investigation is not held.
The Rescue Party has demanded that an investigation be overseen by the U.N. or other outside observer, a demand the CPP has rejected. Both sides on Tuesday agreed to form an investigative committee.
Wang told reporters Wednesday that China continues to support Cambodia, but does not condone "outside" interference in its political process.
Independent analyst Lao Monghay said Wang's visit likely would help the ruling party, which has had less support from the West following the election.
"It's strengthening the confidence of the Cambodian People's Party, while there are few governments and foreign parties recognizing the election as free and fair," he said.
He added that Cambodia's election, which saw a surprising resurgence for the opposition, echoes the movements of the Arab Spring and has made it of interest to the West and the U.S.
"It can extensively spread to Vietnam, Laos and China, and so on," he said. "This is only a matter of time," he said.
Sok Touch, rector of Khemarak University, said China does not want to lose influence over Cambodia, especially with Burma making democratic reforms and looking toward the West.