Cambodia has called on the United States for cooperation to clear bombs dropped during the Indochina conflict over fears they are affecting the health of citizens more than 40 years on.
Addressing an informal meeting between Asean defence ministers and US Defence Secretary James Mattis in the Philippines yesterday, Defence Minister Tea Banh said the relationship between Cambodia and the US was important to promote peace, security and development.
“I hope the US will assist in capacity building and make further strong efforts to resolve the issue of bombs and explosive remnants leftover from the Indochina conflict in the 1970s, which contain dangerous chemicals that seriously affect the daily lives of Cambodian people, as well as socio-economic development,” General Banh said.
More than 30 villagers from Korki commune in Svay Rieng province are thought to have suffered health problems related to chemical bombs dropped by the US during the Vietnam war in the 1970s.
The US Embassy posted a statement on its Facebook page last week saying there was no evidence linking tear gas used in bombs to long-term health problems or birth defects, however it vowed to work with the government to clear explosive remnants of war.
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday said the embassy statement was an insult to the lives of Cambodians and called on the US to bring UN biological experts to neutralise the chemical bombs.