OtterBox Defender Series Case & Holster for Apple iPhone 6 / 6S 4.7″ – Moroccan Sky Blue / Gray (Certified Refurbished) ***NOT for iPhone 6 PLUS***



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OtterBox Defender Series Case & Holster for Apple iPhone 6 / 6S 4.7″ – Moroccan Sky Blue / Gray (Certified Refurbished)

Give your Apple iPhone 6 / 6S the ultimate protection with the OtterBox Defender Series Case & Holster. The OtterBox case is practically indestructible, and will protect your iPhone from bumps, bruises, scratches and scrapes that occur from falls. Made with compatibility in mind, the OtterBox Defender Case allows access to all ports and buttons on the iPhone 6 / 6S. The holster easily clips on to your belt so you can take your iPhone with you wherever you go

*** WILL NOT fit the iPhone 6 Plus *** Compatible ONLY with the iPhone 6 / 6S 4.7″ Version

Features

• Triple-layer defense: inner shell, outer slipcover and touchscreen protector

• Screen protection: built in to keep your brilliant display flawless

• Port covers: stop dirt, dust and lint from getting into jacks and ports

• Holster: works as a belt clip and a hands-free kickstand

Materials

• Polycarbonate shell

• Synthetic rubber slipcover

• Clear membrane screen protector

• Polycarbonate holster

Certified Refurbished: This product has been refurbished by the Manufacturer or a Third-Party Refurbisher to work and look like-new. The refurbishing process includes testing of functionality of the product, basic cleaning and inspection of the equipment, and repackaging. The resulting product works and looks like-new, and comes with a minimum 90-day warranty. Only sellers who meet a certain performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon.

This Certified Refurbished product has been refurbished by the Manufacturer or a Third-Party Refurbisher comes with a minimum 90-day warranty
Multi-layer case protects your investment from potential damage
Built-in touchscreen protector defends against scratches and scrapes
Port plugs allow for easy access while keeping out dust and debris
Holster clips onto straps and belts, plus it locks in place for hands-free viewing, Protective membrane cradles Touch ID, allowing for full functionality

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Elton John recovering from 'potentially deadly' bacterial infection


Elton John spent two nights in intensive care with a potentially deadly bacterial infection and has cancelled all his concerts for the rest of April and May, his publicist said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Singer Elton John performs at the Hillary Victory Fund “I’m With Her” benefit concert for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

REUTERS: Elton John spent two nights in intensive care with a potentially deadly bacterial infection and has cancelled all his concerts for the rest of April and May, his publicist said on Monday.

The British musician, 70, became “violently ill” on a flight home from his recent South American tour, spokeswoman Fran Curtis said in a statement.

The “Rocket Man” singer spent two nights in intensive care in the UK and is resting at home after being released on Saturday, the statement said.

The infection was not identified, but the statement said John contracted the “harmful and unusual bacterial infection” during his South American tour, which ended in Chile on April 10.

“Infections of this nature are rare and potentially deadly,” the statement said, adding that his time in intensive care was followed by an “extended stay in hospital.”

John is expected to make a full recovery but has cancelled all his concerts in Las Vegas for April and May, as well as a gig in Bakersfield, California, on May 6.

John apologised to fans for disappointing them, adding in a statement: “I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well.”

He is due to resume performances at a concert in Twickenham, England, on June 3.

John, a Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner for his work in film and theatre, is working on a score for a Broadway musical adaptation of the comedy-drama “The Devil Wears Prada.”

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)



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As war wrecks ancient Iraq, Erbil works to rebuild citadel


High on a rocky outcrop, just 50 miles from the fighting that is wrecking historic sites across Iraq, workers are busy laying out floor tiles, determined to save at least one ancient structure amidst the turmoil.

A man sits inside Erbil Citadel, Iraq April 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi/Files

ERBIL, Iraq:High on a rocky outcrop, just 50 miles from the fighting that is wrecking historic sites across Iraq, workers are busy laying out floor tiles, determined to save at least one ancient structure amidst the turmoil.

The team is rebuilding the last remains of the fortified citadel in the Iraqi-Kurdish capital of Erbil, constructed on top of the world’s longest continuously-occupied site according to UNESCO, parts of it up to 8,000-years-old.

While Islamic State sends out suicide bombers and snipers in Mosul to the east, the authorities in Erbil are already looking ahead to the day when they can pull in more visitors.

“We not only want to preserve the citadel but also revive it,” said Dara al-Yaqoobi, head of the project. “Around 14 sites are ready for visits. More will come as this is a long-term plan.”

The autonomous government has taken advantage of the region’s relative stability to invest US$15 million in rebuilding the citadel, say authorities.

After years of work, the first buildings are opening, among them two museums, one dedicated to gem stones, the other to textiles.

“We’ve got carpets some 100 to 150 years old which were bought from residents and shops,” said Sertip Mustafa, in charge of the museum.

CARPETS, GEMS, MISSILES

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient artefacts – and some more modern remains, including artillery shells dating back to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Saddam Hussein’s crackdown on a Kurdish uprising in 1991.

History is piled layer upon layer. The new floor tiles are going down in a 19th-century mansion. In another part of the site, a dilapidated public bath marked with a Star of David is testament to the large Jewish community that lived there before leaving for Israel in the 1940s.

Other houses were left abandoned when the government moved out the citadel’s last permanent residents around 2008 to start renovating the site.

Restoration work was held up after Baghdad cut off state revenues in 2014 to the regional government in a row over oil exports.

But residents and visitors have already started returning, partly spurred on by the fact that there are few other places to go to in a region surrounded by war.

“We have hundreds of thousands of ancient sites in Iraq but they are all in a poor state because of the security situation,” said Riyadh al-Rekabi, a public servant from Baghdad, where the main museum was looted.

“It’s nice,” he adds, looking round at the small area open to tourists, including the museums and a souvenir shop. “But it would be better if there was a cafe.”

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)



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Apple iPhone 6 64GB (AT&T) 4G LTE Dual-Core Smartphone w/ 8MP Camera – Space Gray



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$299.00



This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new, with limited to no wear, by a third-party refurbisher. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, inspection, and repackaging. The product is backed by a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. The product ships with a charger and cable, but does not include headphone, manual or SIM card. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon4.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
New 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels
A8 chip with 64-bit architecture. M8 motion coprocessor
1080p HD video recording (30 fps or 60 fps)
Apple Pay: Pay with your iPhone using Touch ID in stores and in apps

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Commentary: China's global economic diplomacy on the rise, even if it has not yet arrived


SINGAPORE: Officially credited to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the One Belt, One Road initiative can be traced to Bo Xilai, the former minister of commerce and former party secretary of Chongqing who is now serving life imprisonment at Qincheng Prison.

To many observers, the initiative is widely seen as President Xi’s signature project.

In his speech delivered at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan on Sep 7, 2013, President Xi had proposed to build a “Silk Road Economic Belt” with Central Asian countries. He had also suggested that countries in the region strengthen their policy communication; improve road connectivity so as to form a transportation network that connects East, West, and South Asia; promote trade facilitation; enhance monetary circulation; and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.

This speech is widely cited as the origin of the One Belt initiative.  

In another speech, to the Indonesian Parliament on Oct 3, 2013, Xi had proposed to build the “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century” with ASEAN countries and establish an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that would give priority to ASEAN countries’ needs.

This speech is widely cited as the origin of the One Road initiative and the AIIB.

BO XILAI’S INITIAL IDEAS

Yet, many ideas in the One Belt, One Road initiative can be concretely traced back to Bo Xilai dating further back than 2013. The “Silk Road Economic Belt” (Sichou Zhilu Jinjidai) for instance finds its roots in a project called a “New Silk Road” (Xin Sichou Zhilu). The idea for the project was a new railway line connecting Chongqing, Bo’s constituency, with Germany through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Poland. 

Termed the Yu Xin Ou railway, with “Yu” referring to Chongqing, “Xin” Xinjiang, and “Ou” Europe, it initially covered a distance of 11,179 kilometres, and was one of Bo’s pet projects while he was party secretary of Chongqing. A first train left Tuanjie, Chongqing on March 19, 2011 and arrived its end destination in Duisberg, Germany 17 days later.  

In February 2012 when Bo was still party Chongqing secretary secretary, trade delegations from six countries (comprising Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan) visited Chongqing for negotiations over the use of the new railway line. In July 2013, Chongqing hosted a major trade fair with the participation of 15 Chinese provinces and 15 countries from Central and Eastern Europe.

“The Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century” similarly finds its roots in an economic policy under Bo. When Bo was Minister of Commerce, he decided to organise a forum with Pacific island countries as a counter-strategy against Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian’s charm offensive in the South Pacific.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce therefore prepared a trip for Premier Wen Jiabao to visit the region and organised a forum – the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development & Cooperation Forum – in Fiji in April 2006. In addition to China, leaders from Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu attended the forum. There, Bo chaired as China’s Minister of Commerce, and Premier Wen gave a keynote address.

The forum produced a guiding framework for economic development and cooperation between China and these Pacific island countries. Unfortunately, Bo’s successors did not follow up to develop the initiative after the inaugural forum, after Bo was transferred to Chongqing in late 2007.

“INCLUSIVE AND MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL”

To be sure, the One Belt, One Road initiative has evolved significantly since Bo’s time. According to the Chinese government, the initiative is China’s way of contributing to peaceful development through economic cooperation with various countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa along the route. 

Kuwait is building the massive Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah causeway to its remote north in an effort to revive the ancient Silk Road trade route AFP/Yasser Al-Zayyat

It does not impose any pre-conditions or geographical restrictions on the projects that can be funded under One Belt, One Road. The initiative is after all meant to be inclusive, market-based, and mutually beneficial.

But a keen observer will notice the significant funding set aside to fuel development projects under the initiative. The Chinese government has pledged US$40 billion for the creation of a Silk Road Fund to promote investment in countries and international organisations interested in the initiative.

So it is no surprise that the initiative has been very popular not only among less developed countries such as those in Asia and Africa but also among developed countries in Europe. Around 60 countries have expressed their interest in the project.

This positive reception to the One Belt, One Road initiative stands in stark contrast with the US’ critical economic stance towards China. President Donald Trump had earlier blamed China and the trend of globalisation for the economic woes of the US during his election campaign trail.

The US also does not seem particularly interested in China’s One Belt, One Road. At the Xi-Trump summit, President Xi said China welcomed US participation in the initiative but the US gave only non-committal answers. It would be a major diplomatic victory for China if the US expressed interest but that does not seem likely.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate on April 7, 2017 during their summit. (Photo: AFP)

Yet with the US’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China may now wield greater influence over global economic issues, especially with its One Belt, One Road initiative.

ONE BELT, ONE ROAD REINFORCES CHINA’S GLOBAL ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY 

In the past 38 years since China adopted an open-door economic policy, China has been a major beneficiary of existing global economic and financial institutions. As a result of globalisation, China has risen from a closed and underdeveloped economy to become the second largest economy and the largest exporter in the world.

In recent years, China has grown increasingly influential in the economic sphere, particularly in major international financial institutions. With its 5.09 per cent of total shares in the World Bank, China is now the third largest contributor to this international financial institution, trailing only behind the US (17.07 per cent) and Japan (7.89 per cent).

With its 6.09 per cent of voting share in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), China is the third most powerful country in this second international financial institution, after the US (16.53 per cent) and Japan (6.16 per cent).

Since 2016, China’s renminbi has also formed part of the basket of reserve currencies held by the IMF along with US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, and British pound. It is the third largest currency, making up 10.92 per cent of the basket’s total weight, behind the US dollar (41.73 per cent) and Euro (30.93 per cent).

Most significantly, the Chinese-backed AIIB now has with 52 members and 18 prospective members. China and other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa) have also launched a New Development Bank with a capital of US$100 billion.

However, China is far from being a dominant player in the larger global economic system. With a capital of US$100 billion, China’s AIIB holds no comparison to the World Bank of 188 members with a subscribed capital of US$252.8 billion.

If we evaluate the One Belt, One Road initiative more critically against this backdrop, we find that the initiative is an effective example of China’s successful global economic diplomacy. But it is by no means a signal that China has arrived.

Based primarily on a web of bilateral cooperative projects, the initiative remains a key prong of China’s global diplomacy strategy in engaging regional countries. But it is not intended to be a challenge to the current global economic system underpinned by financial institutions led by the US and other developed countries.

Nevertheless, the One Belt, One Road initiative summit in May 2017 will be a significant event not only for China but for the world as well, and bears watching.



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Fido vs Spot — Animal vs Robot



The robot’s lifelike movement catches the attention of a real dog. The uncanny uncanine valley. This is the latest quadruped robot from Google’s Boston Dynamics group, and the only one in civilian hands. Another Video: https://youtu.be/q2gehrAhflQ Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/24734777053 And I revisited my post on the Google Master Plan, and sure enough, we see Robots → Skynet → Terminator → Google Security → User Happiness https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/21468536

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German lawmaker cites 'grave differences' as foreign minister heads for Israel


Lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poses a long-term threat to Israel, a key member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives said in an interview on Sunday, citing Israel’s reliance on the military and police.

FILE PHOTO: German Chairman of the parliamentary subcommittee for foreign affairs Norbert Roettgen holds a news conference at the German Embassy in Washington July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

BERLIN:Lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poses a long-term threat to Israel, a key member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives said in an interview on Sunday, citing Israel’s reliance on the military and police.

The comments came as Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, headed to the region.

Norbert Roettgen, head of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that relations between the two countries remained deep and important, but said there were also “grave differences of opinion”.

“All those who care deeply about Israel … are sad, even depressed, about how entrenched everything is, and how much Israel is relying on its military-police superiority and is not developing any perspectives for the situation,” he said.

Roettgen said Israel was profiting from tensions elsewhere in the region, which had shifted the focus away from the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and in-fighting among Palestinians.

“That even has security and political advantages for Israel,” he said. But the basic situation was growing worse and more negative, he said, adding, “That is a real threat for Israel in the longer term.”

Gabriel will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Monday and plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and key Israel and Palestinian government officials later and on Tuesday, his spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters on Friday.

“We do not believe that the current situation is sustainable and will therefore tell our partners in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that we think it’s necessary to make another attempt to revive talks and negotiations in the framework of the Middle East process,” Schaefer said.

“We remain interested in seeing the two parties … make serious efforts to find common ground and a solution based on the two-state solution,” he said.

The extent of the strains between Germany and Israel was underscored in March when Merkel cancelled a summit with Netanyahu that was due to take place in Jerusalem in May.

German officials said privately that the main reason was anger over Netanyahu’s plans to accelerate settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and to legalize thousands of homes built on privately-held Palestinian land.

Ceremonies took place across Germany over the weekend to mark Holocaust-related events, including the liberation of the women’s concentration centre in Ravensbrueck.

A new report issued on anti-Semitism worldwide by the European Jewish Congress said many members of Jewish communities in Germany still perceived anti-Semitism as a major threat, despite a drop in such incidents in official statistics.

An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 Jews live in Germany, and attitudes toward Jews have improved dramatically since the 1990s. However the new report said growing extreme right-wing and populist movements were fuelling open anti-Semitism.

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)



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Apple iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case Black



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$84.99



Engineered exclusively for iPhone 7, the smart battery case gives you even longer battery life while offering great protection. Inside, a soft microfiber lining helps protect your iPhone. And on the outside, the silky, soft-touch finish of the silicone exterior feels great in your hand. A soft elastomer hinge design makes it easy to put the case on and take it off.iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case gives you increased talk time, up to 26 hours, more Internet use, up to 22 hours on LTE, and more video playback, up to 24 hours. A single Lightning cable allows you to charge your iPhone 7 and the Smart Battery Case at the same time.
With the Smart Battery case on, the intelligent battery status is displayed on the iPhone lock screen, so you know exactly how much charge you have left. Battery status is also shown in Notification Center.
The Lightning connector pass through allows you to connect Lightning accessories while the case is on your iPhone.

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The curious case of North Korea in Cambodia


PHNOM PENH: On a quiet midweek evening on the streets of the Cambodian capital, the Pyongyang Restaurant is at near capacity.

Inside the square room, adorned with dramatic landscape murals, music starts to blast. Waitresses in bright traditional Korean garb drop their trays and pick up their instruments. With great skill they twirl in formation and belt out odes to the homeland. 

It is patriotic, unapologetic North Korea thousands of miles from the secretive state.

This is one of the Pyongyang regime’s money-spinners: restaurants dotted throughout the world with profits used to raise foreign exchange. 

The shadowy proceeds of the evening seem to matter little to the bustling tables of mostly South Korean, Chinese and local customers. This is a curious glance into a nation that dominates world headlines but remains nothing but an odd cliché to most people. 

In Cambodia, it is just one small aspect of an unusual relationship with North Korea that has morphed over decades. From what was once a warm mutual friendship, current ties are far more uncertain, underpinned by global tensions and leveraged by the region’s main power player, China. 

Now, as Pyongyang finds itself again in the crosshairs of international ire, scrutiny has extended to Phnom Penh to see how it contends with an old ally. The roots run deep, back to the Cold War era. 

Late King Norodom Sihanouk had a firmly knitted friendship with the founder of North Korea (DPRK) and long-time supreme leader Kim Il-sung. In 1974, a winter palace was built outside Pyongyang for the monarch and he sought refuge there for many years, bringing back to Cambodia a personal troupe of North Korean bodyguards, whom he trusted more implicitly than their local counterparts.

“For the DPRK to obtain recognition from one of the most ancient monarchies in Asia was a diplomatic gain, never to be forgotten and for which to be grateful for a long time,” said Julio Jeldres, Counsellor to the Cabinet of His Majesty the King of Cambodia.

Those royalist ties still hold, though somewhat tenuously. Sihanouk’s son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, now a peripheral figure in national politics, just this month renewed royalist ties with a high-ranking DPRK diplomat.

Norodom Sihanouk (L) is welcomed in 1975 to Pyongyang by North Korean President and “Great Leader” Kim Il-Sung (Photo: Xinhua/AFP)

Reaching out to a diminished power in Cambodian politics for “moral support” is an act of desperation from Pyongyang, according to Jeldres. “North Korea feels isolated now and is seeking to gain support from any sources that can give such support,” he said. 

“Today, the same personal relationship that existed between the leaders of Cambodia and the DPRK does not exist.” 

It is true that the Hun Sen-led government is hardly as embracing as the former king. Yet, still Pyongyang keeps popping its head up in the country.

THE IRRITANT

Just a few miles away from Cambodia’s national treasure, the Angkor Wat temple complex, lies another imprint of the Korean regime’s soft power projections.

The Angkor Panorama museum is a US$24 million dollar project bankrolled by the Mansudae Overseas Project Group, North Korea’s propaganda construction group, in grand cooperation with the Cambodian government.

Opened in December last year, it is a celebration of the ancient Angkor empire with one especially striking and epic 120-metre mosaic. This is no site for explicit propaganda. But the profits are set to flow back to Pyongyang for the first decade of the museum’s operation, no matter how measly they are from the as-yet rarely visited site. 

This type of small commercial enterprise is one many countries do not allow North Korea to set up. Yet Cambodia “permits” it to “retain a quiet, vestigial friendship with North Korea”, according to Sebastian Strangio, author of ‘Hun Sen’s Cambodia’.

“But if the relationship became a burden, it would show no hesitation in cutting off what few ties remain,” he said.

The Angkor Panorama Museum is one of North Korea’s soft power projections in Cambodia. (Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)

North Korea though has been an irritant in recent years on several occasions, testing Cambodia’s resolve to walk a delicate path of equilibrium with a nation considered a “pariah” by the United States.

In July 2016 it was revealed the kingdom was one of the nations to which Pyongyang had dispatched supposed assassins to launch terror attacks against defectors and South Koreans. That same month, a proposed visit by DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong-ho was rejected by the Cambodian government.

In August, North Korean vessel Jie Shun, sailing under a Cambodian flag, was seized carrying a large shipment of munitions. That action coincided with an end to the kingdom’s flag convenience scheme, known to have assisted North Korea smuggle drugs and weapons throughout the world for years. 

Cambodia has also found itself oddly embroiled in the killing of Kim Jong-un’s estranged half brother, Kim Jong-nam, in February at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.

At least one of the two women who eventually carried out the assassination using a deadly nerve agent was known to be in Phnom Penh shortly before the attack.

Asked about ongoing investigations in Phnom Penh, police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said he had no knowledge of the case. “I haven’t heard about this,” he said.

The extent to which the plot has formed or rehearsed in Cambodia remains unclear. So too do the reasons why those masterminding the killing chose Cambodia to induct her.

“Cambodia has traditionally been an off-the-radar meeting ground for Islamist terrorists and North Korean elements,” said Geoffrey Caine, a journalist who specialises in Korean affairs.

“Foreign intelligence and diplomats have geared many of their problems to sewing up its porous borders and enforcing the rule of law. But the fact is that Cambodia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.”

Still, these dubious incidents, in clear view of the world, could wear down the Cambodian government’s patience with a partner that no longer serves them much purpose or musters much rapport.

The government could cast North Korea adrift at any point.

‘JUST A FRIEND’

The Kim Jong-nam killing has further frayed DPRK ties with Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia. With Cambodia toying precariously with ASEAN solidarity by taking Beijing’s side in the South China Sea contest, the government might be better served holding tight with its neighbours, said Chheang Vannarith from the Cambodian Institute of Strategic Studies.

“North Korea-ASEAN relations are worsening. It is not in Cambodia’s interest to align itself with North Korea,” he said.

Already, it has developed strong economic ties to South Korea and publicly denounced the North’s nuclear program – in a soft tone nevertheless. 

“We asked North Korea, a friendly country, to reason with us,” said foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry after a bilateral meeting in January.

“(North Korea) is just a friend, but when a friend does a wrongdoing, Cambodia doesn’t support it and condemns it,” Cambodia government spokesman Phay Siphan told reporters last year. 

That attitude means the likelihood of Cambodia stepping into a mediation void to help settle an inter-Korean dispute, as some observers have suggested as a solution, has likely drifted out of the realm of possibility.

“I doubt very much that the North Koreans would listen to the Cambodians. The only actor with considerable weight to influence North Korea is China,” Jeldres said.

Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong (left) was charged with the murder of Kim Jong-nam. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

Prime Minister Hun Sen has appeared more willing to wade into the global debate but has stayed true to his non-interventionist mantra, which comes thick with criticism of perceived US aggression. His lead now largely comes from Beijing, increasingly propping up Cambodia with no-strings attached investment and loans.

Analysts say the motives for Cambodia’s posturing are purely economic rather than being based on values or moral order.

“Cambodian foreign policy comes down to getting the patronage of the highest bidder. It’s mostly absent of principles and actual policies,” Caine said.

“It’s all about who gives Cambodia the most money. North Korea has little to offer these days.”

What is left, in plain view at least, are the outposts – the museum and handful of restaurants dribbling dollars back to the fatherland, poor fragments of the type of status North Korea once enjoyed here.

As the customers trickle out of Pyongyang Restaurant, the waitresses that had just dazzled with their performances return to their more mundane duties.

Patriotic tunes again seep from the inner sanctum of the building, this time recorded and played through speakers, and for the benefit of the staff members rather than the patrons. 

They are all believed to live in a nearby compound, still isolated from the outside world and not allowed to roam freely in Phnom Penh or mingle with local population.

They are here but not really, far from the turbulence of global politics yet still firmly in the constrained orbit of their rulers. Cambodia, indeed, is a strange place to call home. 



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