US Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, is on a two-week tour to five Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, exploring opportunities to advance US interests in the region, officials said.
The senator left on Sunday for a visit to Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, a statement from his office said.
The US Embassy in Phnom Penh was working on a schedule for Webb to meet with Cambodians on a brief stopover here, officials said.
The senator’s visit was welcomed by Cambodians, who have seen relations with the US improve steadily since the country withdrew aid in 1997. Most recently, Cambodia was removed from a US list of countries considered Marxist-Leninist, paving the way for more trade.
“The removal of Cambodia from the US trade blacklist is seen as helping alleviate the living conditions of Cambodians, especially those who live below the poverty line,” said Nguon Nhel, vice president of the National Assembly. “This trade will bring in more investors and exchange of goods.”
Webb, a former soldier, defense planner, writer and business consultant, is the chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, overseeing US relations in the region and building relationship with organizations such as Asean.