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BREAKING NEWS:​ US Embassy Says Hun Manet's West Point Degree Has Already Been Confirmed Since 2019

PHNOM PENH: Spokesman for the US Embassy in Cambodia, Chad Roedemeier, responded to an email from EAC News confirming that the current issue around Hun Manet's degree had already been explained by West Point Academy in 2019, meaning that the US school does not divide its degrees into level 2 (or ‘second-class’) standard or honorary degree status, as oppositional leader Sam Rainsy claimed.

Chad Roedemeier confirmed to EAC News that the embassy could not comment on US school diplomas on behalf of the educational institutions, but said that in Hun Manet's case, the issue had already been clarified by West Point Academy in October 2019, when the head of public affairs, Christopher Ophardt, liaison at the West Point American Academy of Sciences, confirmed in that allowing international students to study at West Point Academy was an initiative of the State Department and the Department of Defense, and the way they choose to study and train in the military is the same as that of American students. There is no division of ‘level 2’ students or honorary degree students.

On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Hun Sen asked the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Patrick Murphy, to help clarify whether degrees received by Cambodian students from the United States are ‘second-class’ or only of an honorary nature, in order to protect the honor of the education in the United States. He made this request during his speech at the award ceremony for Ouk Srey Mom at the Peace Palace.

The Prime Minister’s request comes after Sam Rainsy made accusations about his son, Hun Manet’s, educational degrees.

He said, “Now can the US talk about this problem? That West Point degree is limited to second-class or as an honorary degree. Does the United States protect criminals or protect American schools? It is not to protect Manet! It is to protect the school.”

He continued that only representatives from the United States and United Kingdom could come forward to prove the quality of the educational degrees from their countries, and that such a confirmation would show that they are protecting their educational institutions and not “corrupt people.”

"Well, only the United States and the United Kingdom can come forward to prove [the quality of the degree] for their educational institutions. And if that comes out, it seems to be an attack to the politicians on those who have spoken. Oh! So, leave it at that, we also notice it. Are they protecting their educational institutions or are they protecting corrupt people? We also notice that,” he said.

On 25 December, Sam Rainsy gave an interview to a foreign newspaper broadcast in Khmer, stating that the degrees Hun Manet received from both West Point Military Academy and New York University in the United States and his PhD from Bristol University in the United Kingdom, are ‘second-class’ diplomas or were granted only as honorary degrees.

In response, Hun Manet called for a bet with Sam Rainsy on "political life", saying that if Sam Rainsy could find evidence on his claims about Hun Manet’s degrees, then Hun Manet would resign from his position as future Prime Ministerial candidate of the Cambodian People’s Party. However, if Sam Rainsy cannot find any evidence, then he must resign from politics.

After waiting for two days without a reply, Hun Manet posted another message to Sam Rainsy saying to stop doing politics altogether because he did not have the courage to defend his argument and is not giving an example of being a good citizen.


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