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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ... and what the US will read

... and what the US will read

F OR the foreign journalists covering U.S. Secretary of State Warren

Christopher's peek at Cambodia, the overnight stop was just a sideshow to the

main event.

They saw even less of the country than did

Christopher.

They followed behind the diplomat, behind the translators,

and behind the bodyguards.

Most of them didn't write a word about

Cambodia.

The news about Vietnam would overshadow anything. Said Karen

Breslau, from the Newsweek magazine: "The visit Warren Christopher will make to

Vietnam is much more important, so I will just mention the stopover in Phnom

Penh."

Los Angeles Times reporter James Mann said he was interested in

writing about Cambodia, but due to deadlines, the lead - the "news" introduction

of the story - would only survive the paper's first edition and would be

replaced by a new "top" on Vietnam for the late editions.

"Logistically

there's a time problem. Warren Christopher arrives in Vietnam by the time I

write the Cambodia story."

Jud Ginsberg, the CNN reporter, said he filed

some news from Cambodia for CNN radio, but not TV. "I think this is sort of a

sidebar to Vietnam," he added.

As for those who did write about

Cambodia, they either had previous experience here, or had done some homework

State-side.

The New York Times' David Sanger - currently in charge of the

Washington economic desk - noted many changes from three years ago when, from

his then base in Tokyo, he covered the story on the student

riots.

"What's remarkable is that three years ago, American diplomats

were obsessed by the Khmer Rouge. Today, on the contrary, listen to Warren

Christopher. He speaks about the Most Favorised Nation principle when speaking

about Cambodia!"

Sanger wanted to point out in his story that Cambodia

was now a working democracy. "But I will also mention the concerns about press

law."

"Of course, we can not see Cambodia so much. But we try to take

advantage of breaks to meet other people," said Sanger. During the afternoon, he

visited some MPs and spoke to Ung Huot, the Cambodian Foreign Affairs

minister.

Michael Dobbs, of the Washington Post, reckoned the press law

was an important story during this, his first visit.

However, he said

his story would be a "general" one about the current situation in

Cambodia.

"But I can not avoid quoting the terrifying visit to the Tuol

Sleng jail. I felt Warren Christopher was really shocked by what he saw inside."

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