PM makes rare visit to US Embassy in show of goodwill

Kin Phea, Director-General of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said yesterday the visit of Mr Hun Sen to the US embassy highlighted Cambodia’s commitments to mend and restore strained ties with the US and narrow the “trust gap” between the two countries. “But it depends on whether the US does the same. Cambodia has never put any condition on its foreign relations with other countries, and is based on the principle of mutual respect of sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other,” he said.

According to Phea, it is time for both countries to mend their “unhealthy relationship” and to narrow the trust and confidence gap; first and foremost.

“The two countries should strictly adhere to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs as enshrined in the UN Charter and mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

Phea added that frank, frequent bilateral dialogues are crucial to building trust and cultivating the relationship and friendship between the two countries. “At the same time, both sides should adjust their position and open their mind and heart to embrace the differences and work together towards the future.”

He said the effective way to strengthen its relationship with Cambodia, the US should demonstrate a deeper understanding of the history, sociocultural system, political and economic conditions, and the complexity of power politics and transition in the country.

“The US should further intensify its development cooperation with Cambodia through more positive rather than negative reinforcements. In the context of geopolitical competition, the use of negative reinforcements could be counterproductive. At the same time, the US should consider encouraging its investors to invest in Cambodia, just like China,” he said.

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