December 1, 2022

In Phnom Penh, Biden meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, urges him to release U.S. citizen Seng Theary and reopen political space ahead of 2023 elections

President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday, November 12, 2022. Photo courtesy: White House
President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday, November 12, 2022. Photo courtesy: White House
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President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Saturday met with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, and both leaders discussed a range of issues, including human rights, democracy and the crisis in Burma.

In a readout, the White House said that President Biden raised concerns regarding the situation at Ream Naval Base and underscored the importance of full transparency about activities by the PRC military at Ream Naval Base, and urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to reopen civic and political space ahead of the 2023 elections.

The American leader also called for the release of activists detained on politically motivated charges, including U.S.-Cambodian dual citizen Seng Theary.

The White House wrote, “President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met today with 2022 ASEAN Chair Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. President Biden expressed appreciation for Cambodia’s leadership of ASEAN during a challenging year.

“The leaders reflected on the success of the historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington, DC and welcomed plans to establish a U.S.-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit later that day.

“They also discussed the crisis in Burma and ASEAN’s response, underscoring the international community has an important role to play in promoting a return to democracy and stability in Burma, and supporting the ASEAN Five Point Consensus. President Biden also expressed his appreciation for Cambodia co-sponsoring resolutions at the United Nations to support Ukraine against Russia’s brutal aggression. 
 
“The President raised concerns regarding the situation at Ream Naval Base and underscored the importance of full transparency about activities by the PRC military at Ream Naval Base.

“President Biden also urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to reopen civic and political space ahead of the 2023 elections. He also called for the release of activists detained on politically motivated charges, including U.S.-Cambodian dual citizen Seng Theary.

“President Biden reiterated the United States’ commitment to the Cambodian people and their aspirations for a more prosperous, democratic, and independent country.”

Before their bilateral meeting, President Biden thanked Prime Minister Sen for hid leadership and trip to the United States.

“Well, Mr. Prime Minister, you came a long way to the United States, and you chaired a very important meeting and made a significant impression on the centrality of ASEAN to the United States and to all our colleagues,” President Biden told Prime Minister Sen before their bilateral meeting at the Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

He added,”We have a long agenda today, I know — and I’m anxious to get to it — but from pandemic recovery to tackling the rising energy prices and food insecurity.
 
But I also want to thank you for Cambodia’s clear condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and for your leadership of ASEAN during what had to be one of the most difficult years.  So, thank you for that.
 
“And as I said last year in our viral [virtual] summit, and again in May, the United States is committed to ASEAN centrality.  We are committed to that.
 
“We remain committed to seeing the return of democracy in Myanmar and working with the ASEAN to ensure implementation of the Five-Point Consensus that is out there. 
 
“We got a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to a productive U.S.-ASEAN Summit and delivering on our shared vision of peace for all of our people.  And I look forward to the meeting.  Thank you again for your hospitality.”


President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday, November 12, 2022. Photo courtesy: White House
President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday, November 12, 2022. Photo courtesy: White House
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