For Immediate Release
November 14, 2017
Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs, Matt Pottinger
and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia, W. Patrick Murphy
Meeting with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn
On November 14, 2017, Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs, Matt Pottinger, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia, W. Patrick Murphy, met with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn in Manila, Philippines on the margins of the East Asia Summit.
The participants noted the importance of sovereignty, independence, and respect. The U.S. delegation emphasized that we seek mutually beneficial and productive relations.
Expressing their interest in supporting the future success of Cambodia, the U.S. side forthrightly expressed strong concerns about recent steps that challenge the country’s democratic progress, including restrictions on the free press, civil society, and the political opposition. The U.S. delegation also pointed with deep concern to the continued detention of Kem Sokha, the leader of the political opposition.
Representatives from the United States expressed their hope that Cambodia would treasure the hard-fought progress it has won in recent decades–including in building a democratic system and achieving progress on prosperity, peace, and reconciliation–and pointed to substantial U.S. foreign assistance in these endeavors.
The participants discussed the importance of resolving issues of Cambodian nationals identified for repatriation from the United States to Cambodia.
U.S. participants noted that unfounded accusations and criticisms of the United States, including U.S. diplomats in Cambodia, contradict the spirit of improved and productive bilateral relations between our two countries.
Given the occasion of President Donald J. Trump to interact with regional leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, at the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit, the United States expresses hope that this will afford the two nations an opportunity to move ahead, address concerns, and improve the bilateral relationship.