PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s National Assembly President met with a delegation of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) this week to strengthen and expand cooperation between the two institutions in a mission to establish peace and development both regionally and globally. While officially recognized as an NGO with General Consultative Status with the UN, the UPF was founded by leaders of the controversial South Korean Unification Church in 2005.
On November 20, National Assembly President Khuon Sodary met with the UPF Delegation led by its President, Charles S. Yang. The National Assembly President praised the UPF mission to establish world peace, and stressed that Cambodia supported this mission under both the reign of former Prime Minister Hun Sen, and continues to do so under Prime Minister Hun Manet.
The UPF calls for a reform of the UN, but endorses the UN’s general mission and goals, which it supports “particularly in the areas of interfaith dialogue, education for peace, and the strengthening of marriage and family.” According to the UPF website, the organization works towards realizing its founder’s goal of “One Family Under God.”
NA President Khuon Sodary lauded the longstanding good relations between the National Assembly and the UPF, which recently provided educational programs on family values in Siem Reap. She said that the National Assembly is willing to seek deeper connections at a time when the world is facing violence, complexity, war and uncertainty.
The organization has been tied to right-wing American politicians in the past with former President George H.W. Bush speaking at the group’s preceding form in 1995, where he spoke about America’s need for morality to strengthen families. According to Japanese newspaper The Mainichi, the UPF paid former President Donald Trump around $2.5 million to speak at their events over the last few years. At the February 2022 World Summit in Seoul, Trump praised the conservative newspaper founded by the UPF’s founders, saying that it "has made a priceless contribution to the defense of truth, faith and freedom, both here in America and all over the globe."
UPF President Charles S. Yang congratulated Cambodia on its July elections which he claimed were free and fair based on his organization’s role as direct observer on Election Day. He expressed his confidence in Prime Minister Hun Manet’s ability to lead the country towards success.
He then mentioned some of the UPF's plans for future conferences and asked for the support of the National Assembly of Cambodia. He then praised former Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Win-Win policy, saying it brought peace to Cambodia and thanked him for always supporting the UPF’s mission.
Khuon Sodary assured the delegation that both the former and current Prime Ministers consider peace a priority that must always be protected and promoted. She noted that the first phase of the new administration’s Pentagon Strategy ensures maintaining peace alongside promoting better living standards.
The National Assembly President asked for the UPF’s assistance in attracting tourism and investment, along with providing training for National Assembly members to build their capacity and empower women in government.