Prime Minister Hun Sen has blasted the United States for interfering in Cambodian affairs in front of its president Donald Trump.
Speaking at the Asean Summit in the Philippines yesterday, Mr Hun Sen spoke of his dispute with the US at a gathering of Mr Trump and other Asean leaders.
He also asked the US to turn Cambodia’s war era debt into development aid.
The pair greeted each other at the summit, the first time they had met.
Mr Hun Sen said the US would win the friendship and respect of other countries if it followed Mr Trump’s touted policy of non-interference in the sovereignty and independence of other nations. The Prime Minister added that previous US administrations had used human rights and democracy to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries.
“We have been the victims again and again,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“We are still the victims because of the activities of US embassy-level officials who are implementing your policy wrongly,” he told Mr Trump.
“You are reforming your policy, but the embassy in Phnom Penh has not reformed yet.
“You should instruct your officials because this is a big issue related to non-interference.”
Mr Hun Sen has repeatedly called on foreign countries not to interfere in Cambodian affairs.He has also accused the US of helping the CNRP push for regime change in the country, charges on which opposition leader Kem Sokha is being held in prison.
The Cambodian debt to the US was originally a $274 million loan for food supplies for the Lon Nol regime in the 1960s, but has grown to about $500 million.Mr Hun Sen said the US should invest the money in developing Cambodia.
“It is like the US took a hammer to hit us, and then asked us to compensate for the hammer,” he said.
He added that the reason for the aid being given in the first place was still unclear.