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P.S Hun Sen: A Legacy of Diplomatic Engagement and Intelligence Cooperation

PHNOM PENH: In a recent piece for The Diplomat, published on June 12, 2024, journalist David Hutt questioned the veracity of claims surrounding a meeting between CIA Director Bill Burns and Cambodian President of Senate Hun Sen. Hutt suggested that there was no such meeting, contrary to statements made by President Hun Sen on June 2, 2024.

President Hun Sen responded assertively to these claims, emphasizing his long-standing relationship with the CIA and his extensive experience in intelligence matters. "I have been working with CIA management since 1997," he declared, underscoring the depth of his involvement in international intelligence cooperation.

Over the years, President Hun Sen has held pivotal meetings with top U.S. intelligence officials, including then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2011, CIA Director David Petraeus in 2012, and most recently, CIA Director Bill Burns in 2024. These meetings, often held at his residences in Phnom Penh and Takhmao, highlight the significant and ongoing cooperation between Cambodia and the United States in the field of intelligence.

In instances where face-to-face meetings were not possible, President Hun Sen ensured that his representatives engaged with CIA leaders in Washington, maintaining a steady dialogue. Notable figures in these interactions included Mike Pompeo, who served as CIA Director before becoming U.S. Secretary of State under President Donald Trump.

President Hun Sen clarified that the primary focus of these cooperative efforts has been the fight against terrorism, rather than targeting any specific country. This collaboration is part of Cambodia's broader intelligence strategy, which involves partnerships with various international agencies as a routine aspect of a sovereign state's operations.

He also issued a subtle reminder about the nature of his leadership: "When you see calm water, do not think that there are no fish in the water. When Hun Sen does not speak, do not think that Hun Sen does not know how to speak." This statement reflects his approach to diplomacy and governance, suggesting that silence should not be mistaken for inaction or ignorance.

In light of these clarifications, it is evident that President Hun Sen's diplomatic and intelligence engagements are both profound and strategic, underscoring his longstanding role in fostering international cooperation and safeguarding national security.


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