Southeast Asia: Cambodia

About Cambodia

Following a five-year struggle, communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns; over 1 million displaced people died from execution or enforced hardships. A 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and touched off 13 years of fighting. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy, as did the rapid diminishment of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1990s. A coalition government, formed after national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Phnom Penh
Population: 12,491,501
Percent below poverty: 36% (1997 est.)
Language: Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Date of independence: 9 November 1953 (from France)
Form of government: multiparty liberal democracy under
Title of Leader: King
Natural Resources: timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential
Environmental Issues: illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fish
Agricultural Products: rice, rubber, corn, vegetables
Imports: cigarettes, gold, construction materials, petroleum products, machinery, motor vehicles
Exports: timber, garments, rubber, rice, fish
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Thailand 16%, Vietnam 9%, Japan 7%, Hong Kong 5%, China 5% (1997)
EXPORTS: Vietnam 18%, Thailand 15%, US 10%, Singapore 8%, China 5% (1997)


Cambodia Headlines

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