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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   3 December 2012 

Obama’s visit reflects relations between two countries


US President Barack Obama's visit to Phnom Penh for last week's Asean and related summits has acknowledged Cambodia's role as a key actor in regional and international affairs.

Outgoing Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said the visit benefited both Cambodia and Asean. At the bilateral level, however, the visit required both countries to be more understanding of each other to promote relations.

Unlike Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to Cambodia before the East Asia Summit with the clear goal of expanding relations in all sectors.

At the same time, China provided US$53 million to Cambodia in aid.

Although Obama did not pay such an official visit, he did hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen which clearly reflected relations between the two countries.

Obama mentioned human rights issues as well as the detention of Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, convicted of organising a secession in Kratie. At the same time, Obama ignored Cambodia's request to cancel US$300 million in wartime debt.

The White House acknowledged that the meeting was "tense" between the two leaders.

Although the United States has strong relations with Cambodia, it is China that has grabbed Cambodian hearts.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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