PM, US lawmaker discuss stepping up bilateral ties

Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with US lawmakers Elizabeth Van Duyne and her delegation on August 29. MPS

Prime Minister Hun Sen and visiting US Congresswoman Elizabeth Van Duyne on Aug. 29 expressed their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations, especially in trade, investment and education.

Van Duyne — a Republican Party member who was elected from Texas’ 24th District — led a congressional delegation that included her colleague from Tennessee on the visit to promote cooperation between the two countries.

Hun Sen’s aide Eang Sophalleth told reporters after the meeting that Van Duyne spoke of the prime minister’s decades of hard work and tireless efforts to bring about comprehensive peace, stability and development which the Kingdom benefits today.

Sophalleth said the visit of the US Congressional delegation aims to help the bilateral relations reach their full potential through cooperation in the aforementioned sectors.

“[Hun Sen] agree with [Van Duyne] that we must look to the future and seize the many opportunities currently available – especially in trade, investment and education – all of which can serve as a basis for strengthening the relationship between our two countries and taking them to another level,” he said.

In mid-August, a larger group of U.S. lawmakers from both houses of Congress, including Senator Edward Markey — who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific — and representatives John Garamendi, Don Beyer, Alan Lowenthal, Aumua Amata and Coleman Radewagen also visited Cambodia.

According to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, the previous Congressional delegation met with government officials and civil society representatives in Phnom Penh to discuss climate change, press freedom, political participation, labor and human rights.

They also visited Siem Reap to experience Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage, including an early morning visit to Angkor Wat to enjoy its spectacular sunrise views.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new $25 million project called “Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III”, to promote food security and economic growth in Cambodia’s agricultural sector.

The five-year Harvest III project is managed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We believe in this program, we believe in our partners, and we want to do a lot more good work together,” Blinken said. “It is essential that we strengthen global food security and tackle the root causes of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

Thong Mengdavid, a researcher at the Mekong Center for Strategic Studies at the Asian Vision Institute, said visits by elected and appointed US officials to Cambodia to meet government leaders here are crucial for both sides to understand the culture. policy of each country and to promote bilateral relations. Trade.

Mengdavid noted that the United States has frequently accused Cambodia of human rights violations, among others, which negatively affects the Kingdom’s reputation in the international arena.

“All of these accusations are causing controversy and complicating relations between Cambodia and the United States. Thus, meetings like these are an opportunity for Cambodia to explain to lawmakers from the two major American parties their views and provide facts about the political and socio-economic situation here, as well as to help them better understand the Kingdom’s policy of neutrality,” he said.

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