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Warmer Relations, But Cambodian Debt Remains

  • Men Kimseng
  • VOA Khmer

Cambodian Ambassador Hem Heng shakes hand with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

Cambodian Ambassador Hem Heng shakes hand with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

National anthems, traditional Khmer music and big smiles were all a part of a celebration dinner held by Cambodian diplomats Friday to mark the 60th anniversary of US-Cambodia relations. But Cambodia still wants debt forgiven and a chance to see more deductions in tariffs.

“I think we’re on an upswing...so we’re pleased with the relations,” US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told reporters.

Cambodian Ambassador Hem Heng noted the improved relations but said he still wanted to see Cambodia forgiven more than $300 million in debt incurred prior to the Khmer Rouge. He said he was optimistic the US would consider the possibility.

About 200 guests from the US State Department, Cambodian diplomatic corps, US government agencies and Congress joined Friday’s dinner, which was held in a Chinese restaurant in a Virginia suburb of Washington.

The US and Cambodia are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations this month, with talks and performances planned in Cambodia throughout July.

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