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International relations

Cambodia PM threatens to destroy opposition if EU imposes sanctions

Europe is a major destination for Cambodian garment products

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen arrives at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the toppling of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime at the Olympic stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 7.   © Reuters

PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened Monday to destroy the opposition if the European Union imposes sanctions on the Southeast Asian country over its political and human rights situations.

The threat comes after the European Union said in October it was considering suspending a preferential duty-free treatment for imports from Cambodia, in a bid to put pressure on the Hun Sen government to improve the situations.

The EU market is a major destination for Cambodian garment products, which are Cambodia's main export items.

"If you want the opposition group dead, just cut it," Hun Sen said at a groundbreaking ceremony for a major road in Phnom Penh, referring to Cambodia's trading status, which the European Union has reportedly begun the process of stripping.

"To kill Cambodia under any form is equal to killing a group that you are supporting to go against Hun Sen's government," he said.

Hun Sen's ruling party won all 125 seats in the National Assembly in a general election in July last year, after the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was dissolved by court order and its members banned from politics for five years.

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