Prime Minister Hun Sen sent a letter of congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden, assuring him that the Cambodian government will be fully committed to working with his administration to improve bilateral relations.
In his letter dated December 15 and seen by The Post on December 17, Hun Sen said Biden’s vast experience in government and long record of wise leadership had proven to be the decisive factor in earning the trust and the votes of the American people.
The prime minister said he firmly believed that under Biden’s presidency, the US will thrive and contribute to greater stability and prosperity in the world.
“The people and the government of Cambodia have always attached great importance to strengthening and deepening the long-standing bond of friendship between our two countries, which we are in the midst of commemorating the 70th Anniversary of this year.
“Please rest assured that my government is fully committed to working with your administration to raise our bilateral relations up to greater heights,” Hun Sen wrote.
Koy Kuong, spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
Chad Roedemeier, spokesperson for the US embassy in Phnom Penh, declined to comment and referred questions to Biden’s transition team in Washington.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said sending a letter of congratulations now was correct because the results of the US election were only recently made official with the votes cast by the Electoral College on December 14 confirming Biden had won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
He said Cambodia was always ready to work with the US in order to further build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. How successful those efforts are will depend on the honesty of the US under the new administration and their commitment to showing mutual respect for Cambodia.
“For Cambodia, we want to see the relationship between the two countries strengthen and advance, based on mutual interests and respect for sovereignty,” he said.
Former opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath said US foreign policy is usually softer when the president is from the Democratic Party and that many countries in Asia seemed to be expecting an increase in cooperation with the new US president given that he is from that party.
“Cambodia is not that different from other countries in Asia. I believe that the relationship with the US will be better, but whether that will be beneficial for Cambodia, I cannot say. Generally, the US foreign policy doesn’t change that much whether the president is from the Republican or Democratic Party. But in this case it will likely be softer,” he said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said that so long as Cambodia is leaning towards China and does not restore democracy and human rights, it is very doubtful that the relationship between the two countries would get better.