United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton will pay a visit to the Kingdom at the end of this month, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong has said.
Koy Kuong said that the US’s top diplomat would visit following the trip by United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who is scheduled to arrive next Tuesday for a two-day visit.
“So far, we do not have the exact date of US Secretary of State Her Excellency Hillary Clinton’s visit yet, but I know that she will be visiting Cambodia at the end of this month after the official visit of His Excellency Ban Ki-moon,” Koy Kuong said.
“We are working on this now, and we will release the formal information when it is completely done.”
The American embassy, however, could not provide details of the visit.
“The embassy has received no confirmation about her visit from Washington,” an embassy spokesman said.
The last time a US secretary of state travelled to Cambodia was in 2003, when Colin Powell held the post. In 1996, top envoy Warren Christopher visited.
Koy Kuong said the purpose of the visit was “to strengthen bilateral cooperation and friendship between the two countries”. Under President Barack Obama, the US has attempted to play a more vigorous role in the region and reassert its presence in the face of a rising China.
At an ASEAN security dialogue in Hanoi this July, Clinton riled Beijing by claiming the US had a “national interest” in seeing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China’s naval buildup and its territorial claims in the area have been viewed warily by ASEAN members such as Vietnam.
In July, the Kingdom hosted the US-sponsored “Angkor Sentinel” military exercises, which involved more than 1,000 military personnel from 26 countries.