National Name: Preahreacheanacha Kampuchea
King: Norodom Sihamoni (2004)
Prime Minister: Hun Sen (2008)
Land area: 68,154 sq mi (176,519 sq km); total area: 69,900 sq mi (181,035 sq km)
Population (2008 est.): 14,241,640 (growth rate: 1.7%); birth rate: 25.6/1000; infant mortality rate: 56.5/1000; life expectancy: 61.6; density per sq mi: 80
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Phnom Penh, 1,169,800
Monetary unit: Riel
Languages: Khmer 95% (official), French, English
Ethnicity/race: Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%
Religions: Theravada Buddhist 95%, others 5%
Literacy rate: 73.6% (2006 est.)
Airport Tax: International departures: US$ 25. All other domestic destinations US$ 5.
Major trading partners: U.S., Germany, UK, Vietnam, Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan (2004).
+ Telephones: main lines in use: 36,400 (2003); mobile cellular: 1.062 million (2005).
+ Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 17, (2003).
+ Television broadcast stations: 9 (2006).
+ Internet hosts: 1,378 (2006).
+ Internet users: 41,000 (2005).
+ Railways: total: 602 km 2005).
+ Highways: total: 38,257 km; paved: 2,406 km; unpaved: 35,851 km (2004).
+ Waterways: 2,400 km (mainly on Mekong River) (2004).
+ Ports and harbors: Phnom Penh.
+ Airports: 20 (2006 est.).
Time Zone: Cambodia is 7+GSM.
Although Cambodia had a rich and powerful past under the Hindu state of Funan and the Kingdom of Angkor, by the mid-19th century the country was on the verge of dissolution. After repeated requests for French assistance, a protectorate was established in 1863. By 1884, Cambodia was a virtual colony; soon after it was made part of the Indochina Union with Annam, Tonkin, Cochin-China, and Laos. France continued to control the country even after the start of World War II through its Vichy government. In 1945, the Japanese dissolved the colonial administration, and King Norodom Sihanouk declared an independent, anti-colonial government under Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh in March 1945. The Allies deposed this government in October. In January 1953, Sihanouk named his father as regent and went into self-imposed exile, refusing to return until Cambodia gained genuine independence.
On October 4, 2004, the Cambodian National Assembly ratified an agreement with the United Nations on the establishment of a tribunal to try senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. Donor countries have pledged the $43 million international share of the three-year tribunal budget, while the Cambodian government’s share of the budget is $13.3 million. The tribunal plans to begin trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders in 2007.
GEOGRAPHY: Cambodia is located on mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand to the west and north and Vietnam to the east. It shares a land border with Laos in the northeast. Cambodia has a sea coast on the Gulf of Thailand. The Dangrek Mountain range in the north and Cardamom Mountains in the southwest form natural boundaries. Principal physical features include the TonleSap lake and the Mekongand Bassac Rivers. Cambodia remains one of the most heavily forested countries in the region, although deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
ECONOMY: Since 2004, the economy’s growth rate has averaged over 10%, with the garment sector and the growing tourism industry driving the growth. Inflation steadily increased from 1.3% in 2003 to 6.7% in 2005; for 2006, it was 5%. The economy is heavily dollarized; the dollar and riel can be used interchangeably. Cambodia remains heavily reliant on foreign assistance--about half of the central government budget depends on donor assistance. Cambodia has had trouble attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), due in part to the unreliable legal environment. FDI was recorded at $142 million in 2000 and gradually dropped to $121 million in 2004. In 2005, for the first time in five years, FDI increased to $216 million.
Manufacturing output is concentrated in the garment sector, which started to expand rapidly in the mid-1990s and now employs more than 250,000 workers. Garments dominate Cambodia’s exports, especially to the U.S., and accounted for over $2 billion in revenues in 2005, a record high. Since the end of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement in 2005, Cambodia has maintained exports, against expectations. The other main foreign currency earner is tourism; in 2004, visitors topped one million for the first time, many of whom visited the ancient Angkor Wat complex at Siem Reap. The service sector is heavily concentrated in trading activities and catering-related services. Exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas began in 2005 and although there are no clear figures, oil production could more than double Cambodia's revenue.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with most countries, including the United States. The country is a member of most major international organizations, including the UN and its specialized agencies, and became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1998.
Cambodia is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). On October 13, 2004, Cambodia became the 148th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
U.S.-CAMBODIAN RELATIONS: Between 1955 and 1963, the United States provided $409.6 million in economic grant aid and $83.7 million in military assistance. This aid was used primarily to repair damage caused by Cambodia’s war of independence from France, to support internal security forces, and for the construction of an all-weather road to the seaport of Sihanoukville, which gave Cambodia its first direct access to the sea and access to the southwestern hinterlands. Relations deteriorated in the early 1960s. Diplomatic relations were broken by Cambodia in May 1965, but were reestablished on July 2, 1969. U.S. relations continued after the establishment of the Khmer Republic until the U.S. mission was evacuated on April 12, 1975. During the 1970-75 war, the United States provided $1.18 billion in military assistance and $503 million in economic assistance. The United States condemned the brutal character of the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. The United States opposed the subsequent military occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam, and supported ASEAN's efforts in the 1980s to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the problem. This was accomplished on October 23, 1991, when the Paris Conference reconvened to sign a comprehensive settlement.
The U.S. Mission in Phnom Penh opened on November 11, 1991, headed by career diplomat Charles H. Twining, Jr., who was designated U.S. Special Representative to the SNC. On January 3, 1992, the U.S. lifted its embargo against Cambodia, thus normalizing economic relations with the country. The United States also ended blanket opposition to lending to Cambodia by international financial institutions. When the freely elected Royal Government of Cambodia was formed on September 24, 1993, the United States and the Kingdom of Cambodia immediately established full diplomatic relations.