Cambodia

Hun Sen Congratulates Obama Ahead of US Presidential Visit to Cambodia

Patnaik, an Indian artist gives finishing touches to a sand sculpture of U.S. President Obama on a beach in Puri, India.
Patnaik, an Indian artist gives finishing touches to a sand sculpture of U.S. President Obama on a beach in Puri, India.
Heng Reaksmey
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday issued his congratulations to President Barack Obama for his election victory on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to note that under your wise relationship, the bond of friendship between our people, as well as the relations and cooperation between our two nations, have been strengthened for mutual interests,” Hun Sen wrote.

Obama will visit Cambodia later this month for a summit with Asian leaders. Opposition supporters have urged the US president to use that visit to push for free and fair elections in Cambodia next year. Obama will attend an Asean-US leader’s summit and will have a bilateral meeting with Hun Sen.

Under Obama, the US has made a policy rebalancing toward Asia, renewing engagement in the region.

That has also meant pushing for peace in the South China Sea, where several Asean nations have overlapping claims with China. Cambodia received heavy criticism for chairing an Asean meeting in June that broke down over language concerning the South China Sea, where Cambodia was accused of acting in the interest of China, and not the countries of Southeast Asia.

In August, the US criticized China for creating a new administrative zone that covered many of the disputed areas in the sea. US Ambassador to Cambodia William Todd told reporters at the embassy on Wednesday that the US, though not a claimant to the sea, has an interest in peace and security there.
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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