Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation.
His response to Yoho came after the congressman thanked him for allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,000 passengers to dock at the Sihanoukville’s port. The ship was earlier denied docking rights by a number of countries which feared Covid-19 contamination.
Hun Sen’s letter dated March 25 said: “As far as the cooperation and friendship between Cambodia and the US is concerned, there are some issues that we may agree to disagree.
“However, we must not take such matters as a barrier to our relations and cooperation. In that sense, I am ready to turn a new chapter in our two countries’ relationship,” Hun Sen said.
The prime minister also thanked Yoho for his kind words on Cambodia’s humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam with 600 US nationals who were in distress to dock.
“As a small nation but with a big heart, the government under my leadership highly values multilateralism, including international solidarity with no discrimination, especially, when it comes to regional or international issues.
“Based on this stance, I decided without hesitation to save the lives of the passengers and crew of the MS Westerdam,” Hun Sen said.
In his letter of thanks to Hun Sen, Yoho said the prime minister’s hospitality in granting the ship safe haven and allowing US Embassy staff in Cambodia to escort over 600 Americans to safety serves as a prime example of international solidarity.
Yoho expressed his appreciation for the prime minister’s confidence in US embassy officials assisting the Americans. Yoho expressed hope that the goodwill could translate to future cooperation and friendship.
Although the two countries may have disagreements on important issues, he said he was pleased that they still managed to coordinate and cooperate when it mattered most.