Prime Minister Hun Sen has reached out to a prominent US-based law firm to clear up confusion surrounding US-Cambodia relations. The premier said the services are warranted as relations between the two nations are currently at an unprecedented level, stressing that they are the best they have ever been.
Hun Sen met with Scott David Parven, a representative of Akin Gump – an international law firm and largest lobbying group in the US by revenues with its headquarters in Washington, DC – on May 12 during his visit to the ASEAN-US Special Summit in the US capital.
“I advised the company that there is still some work to be done, so as not to confuse relations between the two countries. As in the past, the US has accused the Ream [Naval Base] of hosting the Chinese military. That’s not correct. Cambodia has a clear stance on adopting a policy of permanent neutrality as stated in the Constitution, and Cambodia has no policy of choosing China over the US or any nation over another,” he said in a social media post.
Hun Sen told Parven that the suspension of military exercises with the US in 2017 was because Cambodia had held its commune council elections in the same year. He said Cambodia had no intention of disrupting military relations with the US, and allowing ships of other countries to dock at the Ream Port was a sign of the Kingdom’s open relations with “friendly” countries.
The post quoted Parven as saying that his company had done a lot of work with the Cambodian embassy in Washington to improve Cambodia-US relations.
Parven was quoted as saying that Akin Gump had been in contact with US leaders in Congress as well as the other branches of government to make the US better understand Cambodia’s position on bilateral relations and ASEAN and international affairs – especially its position on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, climate change, trade, and Cambodian humanitarian efforts.
The post quoted Parven as saying that during his meetings with leaders of the US Congress, he had highlighted that what Cambodia had done in the past was good, so the Kingdom ought to be appreciated more.
At the meeting, Hun Sen said that present relations have reached new heights and are better than they have ever been in history.
He stressed that the US has never been as close to Cambodia as it has been, as evidenced by the establishment of its embassy in a “prime” location in the capital – which he said was allocated only for the US – as well as the growth of trade and investment between the two nations.
Hun Sen said that in the first four months of 2022, the volume of trade between Cambodia and the US had increased significantly despite Covid-19. Exports to the US had increased by 44 per cent.
He added that the US had helped the Kingdom with its development by promoting trade, investment, demining training and through the provision of Covid-19 vaccines.
At a separate meeting with a public relations company, the prime minister urged the American media to spread the truth about Cambodia, while claiming that Cambodia had suffered from injustices that stemmed from the dissemination of false information.
At the May 12 meeting with Michael Petruzzello, founder of US PR Firm Qorvis Communications, he said that bringing true information about Cambodia’s progress was crucial, as the current situation in Cambodia bore no resemblance to what was described in the “anti-Cambodia press”.
“I urged the US media to visit and write the truth about Cambodia,” Hun Sen said.
“We do not want to spread anything that goes beyond the truth of Cambodia, that is, we only want them to broadcast the actual situation in Cambodia. The Kingdom has suffered from the dissemination of false information, which is often contrary to the reality of conditions in the country,” he added.
He said that some international institutions had always used widely available information as the basis for their evaluations, which had led them to make inaccurate assessments because the sources they used were often biased.
The premier also said that Petruzzello wanted to see Cambodia increase training of its spokespersons and representatives, so as to increase its ability to control the flow of accurate information.
Hun Sen told Petruzzello that Cambodia was training spokespersons so they could provide practical information on the Kingdom’s progress.
Petruzzello promised to help share the truth about Cambodia.
Qorvis Communications founder Michael Petruzzello met with Hun Sen to discuss Cambodia in the media and means of amplifying the Kingdom’s success stories on Covid-19 and investment, said a May 13 Qorvis Communications post.