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PM Returns from Successful Trip to US

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Manet returned to Phnom Penh this morning following his first trip to the US at Cambodia’s leader. During the four-day trip, he was accompanied by his wife, First Lady Pich Chanmony, and a small delegation of officials.

The PM had a successful trip to New York where he addressed the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and met with foreign diplomats and businesspeople to strengthen ties and secure investments. Meanwhile, he also received confirmation on his legitimacy, even from countries that expressed doubts about the democratic process that put him in power last month.

During his 15-minute speech to the UNGA, the PM reinforced the long-held CPP themes of “peace, stability and economic growth” to the international audience. Addressing the crowd of diplomats, many of whom decried Cambodia’s July elections as “neither free nor fair,” he defended the high voter turnout as a “clear indication of our people's greater political maturity and enthusiasm in exercising their democratic rights."

The PM received no open criticism from his fellow politicians on the trip, however. In fact, the US seemed to backtrack its stance after US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland congratulated the new PM and let him know that the pause on assistance was over two months after it was announced.

During his address to the UNGA, the PM reassured the international community on Cambodia’s commitment to neutral foreign policy, saying that he would not allow foreign military bases, an apparent reference to the Chinese investment in the Ream Naval Base, which has been largely criticized in the international community as China’s attempt for to build a secret military base.

Prime Minister Hun Manet also shook hands with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, India’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, , Pfizer’s Global President of Emerging Markets, Nick Lagunowich, and Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong.

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