US President Joe Biden Meets With Hun Sen

US President Joe Biden met with PM Hun Sen today to reflect on the success of the country's relations with ASEAN, urge for a resolution in Myanmar, and call for increased democracy ahead of the general elections
US President Joe Biden holds bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen at Sokha Hotel, November 12, 2022. Kiripost via SPM Page
US President Joe Biden holds bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen at Sokha Hotel, November 12, 2022. Kiripost via SPM Page

US President Joe Biden met on Saturday with the 2022 ASEAN Chair and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, when he expressed appreciation for the country’s leadership of the bloc during a challenging year.

Biden and Hun Sen reflected on the success of the historic US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington DC and welcomed plans to establish a US-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the annual US-ASEAN Summit later that day, according to a readout from the White House.

They also discussed the crisis in Myanmar and ASEAN’s response, underscoring the international community has an important role to play in promoting a return to democracy and stability in Myanmar, and supporting the ASEAN Five Point Consensus.

Biden also expressed his appreciation for Cambodia co-sponsoring resolutions at the United Nations to support Ukraine against Russia’s brutal aggression, the readout said.

US President Joe Biden reacts as he goes up a stage for group photo with ASEAN leaders in Phnom Penh, November 12, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa
US President Joe Biden reacts as he goes up a stage for group photo with ASEAN leaders in Phnom Penh, November 12, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa

“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,” the readout added.

In addition, the readout said Biden also urged 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 US-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,” the readout said.

An official Facebook post citing Eang Sophalleth did not mention the human rights situation but thanked Biden for attending the summits in Phnom Penh, demonstrating the US' commitment to ASEAN.

“On this occasion, Samdech Techo also thanked the United States for sending artifacts back to Cambodia. Samdech Techo said that the United States is the leading country in sending artifacts back to Cambodia,” the post said.

Hun Sen also met Japanese Prime Minister Mikani Masahiro on Saturday, in which the two leaders later witnessed a number of signing agreements of $51.3 million in aid for Cambodia, including one by Toyota to invest $36.8 million to set up an assembly in the country.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese Prime Minister Mikami Masahiro witness a signing agreements of aid for Cambodia, November 12, 2022. Kiripost via SPM Page
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese Prime Minister Mikami Masahiro witness a signing agreements of aid for Cambodia, November 12, 2022. Kiripost via SPM Page

“The grant funding provided by the Government of Japan will significantly contribute to the Royal Government of Cambodia's efforts to accelerate the economic and social development of Cambodia, as well as further strengthen existing good cooperation and traditional ties between the two countries,” Hun Sen said on his official Facebook page.

Speaking at the 12th ASEAN-UN Summit, Secretary-General António Guterres drew attention to a global economy divided into two parts – led by the US and China – with two different sets of rules, currencies, internet, and conflicting strategies on artificial intelligence.

“This decoupling must be avoided at all costs”, he said, noting that member states of the regional bloc are “particularly well-placed to help bridge it”.

He repeated his call that the Myanmar authorities “release all political prisoners and launch an inclusive process immediately to return to the democratic transition” as “the only route to lasting peace and security”.

Welcoming ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, he urged all countries to “seek a unified strategy” centered on the needs and aspirations of the people of Myanmar and advocated for open borders, protection, and assistance to refugees from there.