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Government Welcomes New US President

Officials from Cambodia’s key ministries welcomed the election of Barack Obama as US president Wednesday, saying they were optimistic his administration would continue the good relations that have grown between the countries in recent years.

“In the past, we have had a good relationship with the US government, regarding counterterrorism, also with the FBI, CIA and [Drug Enforcement Agency], so we hope that with [Obama] the relationship will not change,” said Lt. Gen. Sok Phal, deputy chief of national police. “Cambodia has prepared already everything for the US government about terrorism and the proof of terrorism.”

Cambodia has proven a strong US ally in its regional war on terror, benefiting from military and law enforcement aid and training as a result.

Meanwhile, trade to the US has grown considerably, a trend officials said they hoped would continue.

“Every year, trade cooperation between the two countries has developed more and more,” said Kem Sithan, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce.

In 2008, Cambodia exported $3 billion in garments and agricultural products to the US, up from around $300 million in 2003, he said.

“I hope the next US president will not change this and that we will develop even more cooperation between Cambodia and the US,” he said.

Even though exports are growing, the next US administration should encourage even more trade, said Koy Koung, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The relationship between the two countries will not change, “because in recent years we have already built a relationship with the US, so either one of the candidates for US president would not change that.”