Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20.

While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm Cambodia’s stance on foreign policy and economic cooperation.

“Our country may not be large, but it’s not small either. Cambodia is an independent, sovereign nation that stands as an equal with other countries. It’s crucial that our policies are transparent,” he said.

The upcoming visit was confirmed after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres sent a congratulatory letter to Manet on September 6. Guterres then affirmed that Cambodia remains a valuable partner of the UN and expressed enthusiasm about continued cooperation with the new government.

Government spokesman Pen Bona said on September 10 that this will be Manet’s first time participating in the UNGA. He did not provide further details on Manet’s upcoming meetings with US officials and business leaders, but highlighted that the Kingdom’s foreign policy remains open.

“This approach, initiated under the leadership of former Prime Minister Hun Sen, will continue with the new administration,” Bona said.

Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Manet’s US visit could help mend fences.

“Historically, interactions between our countries have been marred by misunderstandings, especially on issues like democracy, political space and human rights. These have often made the relationship inconsistent and contentious,” Phea said.

“We hope that both nations will strive for mutual understanding, as this is crucial for improving diplomatic ties,” he added.

Vong Daravady