has the potential to be an industrialized nation, but corruption and impunity
have kept it politically immature, a former US ambassador said.
Sichan Siv, who serverd as US
ambassador to the United Nations, said Cambodia has slowly overcome its
problems since the early 1990s, but certain impediments remain.
“The problems of corruption, crime and impunity still exist
he told VOA Khmer. “However, I believe that when the government and society can
solve these problems, our country can achieve political maturity.”
The former ambassador was at the George Bush Presidential
Library and Museum in Texas
last week, where he paid a call on former president George HW Bush and
addressed 200 Boy Scouts on leadership and patriotism.
“I have hopes that Cambodia has the potential to
become industrialized, because Cambodian people are hard working, have a strong
culture and have a strong civilization,” he said. “Our ancestors built the Angkor temple. This is a symbol of our strong
Sichan Siv also said Cambodia could industrialize thanks
to the Cambodians’ love of study.
“Just look at the French language,” he said. “Everyone my
generation speaks French. Now people speak English. Cambodians like to learn
what’s new, to adapt to change.”
had enjoyed the double-digit economic growth for the past several years, but
the global economic slowdown has drastically reduced projections for 2009.