US envoy conveys concerns to Cambodia about Myanmar, China

Dec 10, 2021, 9:34 AM | Updated: 9:55 am

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A U.S. State Department envoy conveyed concerns to top Cambodian officials on Friday about bilateral and regional issues, including the crisis in Myanmar and the construction of Chinese military facilities at a Cambodian naval base.

The visit by Counselor Derek Chollet to Phnom Penh came days after the United States ordered an arms embargo on Cambodia, citing deepening Chinese military influence, corruption and human rights abuses in the Southeast Asian country.

Chollet told journalists his discussions with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn involved issues related to Myanmar and China, as well as the role Cambodia intends to play as the new chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose efforts to mediate peace in Myanmar have fallen short.

Myanmar has become increasingly unstable since its army seized power in February, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The military has sought to forcefully crush popular opposition to its takeover, which could end up plunging the country into civil war, U.N. experts have said.

Washington takes a hard line against Myanmar’s military-installed government, and has applied targeted diplomatic and economic sanctions against the ruling generals. ASEAN prefers soft measures when dealing with one of its members, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said this week he plans to travel to Myanmar next month for talks with its leaders.

Chollet said his talks with Prak Sokhonn and other officials were open, workmanlike and constructive.

He said he reiterated Washington’s concerns about Cambodia’s relationship with China that led to it applying the arms embargo.

“Unfortunately we have not seen the type of progress we hoped for since we have been registering these concerns, and I should say these concerns go back several years,” he said. He described the links with China as not just a threat to the interests of the United States and the region, but also to Cambodia.

Beijing in the last decade has pushed hard to extend its influence in Southeast Asia, China is Cambodia’s biggest investor and closest political partner.

China’s support allows Cambodia to disregard Western concerns about its poor record in human and political rights, and in turn Cambodia generally supports Beijing’s geopolitical positions on issues such as its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Chollet said he also discussed the construction of new Chinese military facilities at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, a matter of strong U.S. concern.

Ream faces the Gulf of Thailand, adjacent to the South China Sea, where China has aggressively asserted its claim to virtually the entire strategic waterway. The U.S. has refused to recognize China’s sweeping claim.

“We are concerned by the possibility of a PRC military facility,” he said, referring to China by its official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Cambodia has repeatedly denied it will host a naval base exclusively for Chinese use.

“We believe it’s very important to be fully transparent about the intent and about the nature of that relationship, the scope of it as well, what’s going on,” Chollet said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Clinton County employee helps direct traffic as an Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicle leaves the s...
Associated Press

Ohio gunman appeared to threaten FBI after Trump home search

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A gunman who died in a shootout after trying to get inside the FBI’s Cincinnati office apparently went on social media and called for federal agents to be killed “on sight” following the search at former President Donald Trump’s home, a law enforcement official said. Federal investigators are examining social media […]
20 hours ago
FILE - In this May 10, 2020 file photo, a shopper pushes his cart past a display of packaged meat i...
Associated Press

Inflation Reduction Act may have little impact on inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — With inflation raging near its highest level in four decades, the House on Friday gave final approval to President Joe Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act. Its title raises a tantalizing question: Will the measure actually tame the price spikes that have inflicted hardships on American households? Economic analyses of the proposal suggest […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Justice Dept. weighs in on 2020 election robocall suit

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has weighed in on a civil lawsuit against two conservative political operatives accused of using robocalls to dissuade Black voters from taking part in the 2020 election. The department said Friday that defense lawyers for the two men were misinterpreting the Voting Rights Act, although the department […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Man charged in death of co-worker at Michigan GM plant

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 48-year-old man was charged with open murder Friday in connection with a fatal assault at the General Motors assembly plant in Orion Township, a sheriff said. A magistrate authorized a warrant charging the suspect with a crime that could result in a life sentence in prison if convicted, Oakland […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Boiling chemical on rail car forces evacuation in California

PERRIS, Calif. (AP) — A section of a major Southern California freeway was shut down and 170 homes were under evacuation orders Friday as a chemical reaction inside a railroad tank car threatened to cause an explosion, authorities said. The tank car was parked on a spur off a main rail line along Interstate 215 […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Supporters of a proposal that would add South Carolina to a list of states calling for a U.S...
Associated Press

Conservative push to alter Constitution focuses on primaries

DENVER (AP) — The fliers piled up in mailboxes in central South Dakota like snow during a high-plains blizzard: “Transgender Sex Education in Schools?” one asked. “Vote Against Sex Ed Radical Mary Duvall for State Senate.” The mailers were part of a $58,000 campaign against the five-term Republican lawmaker, an enormous sum of money in […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
US envoy conveys concerns to Cambodia about Myanmar, China