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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.
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.