Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the World Health Organisation to continue helping Cambodia and not be alarmed by the warnings of some countries.
Analysts said the prime minister was referring to the US, which announced on Tuesday that it would stop providing funding to the WHO.
In his remark at the 10th ASEAN Plus Three Summit with China, Japan and South Korea, hosted by video conference, Hun Sen praised the WHO’s actions in Cambodia and requested that its secretary-general continue working hard to combat Covid-19.
“I take this opportunity to thank the secretary-general and director-general and also express our great appreciation for the efforts that the WHO has been making.
“And I would like to convey to [him] that the representatives of the WHO in Cambodia are highly responsible and work professionally. We hope that the secretary-general will continue to try hard without caring about the warnings from some countries,” the prime minister said.
The ASEAN Plus Three Summit released a joint statement, including recognition for the WHO’s important role in the global campaign to monitor and prevent the spread of Covid-19, recognising the importance of implementing health measures under the international health regulations and noting the need for the WHO’s global health services in addressing public health challenges such as the Covid-19 disease.
With regard to the WHO, the ASEAN Plus Three committed to working closely with it, international organisations and communities, on the global fight to prevent the spread and end the pandemic while addressing the critical societal and economic consequences and protecting the health of the people and maintaining sustainable growth.
Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said that Hun Sen’s comments were likely aimed at the US for accusing the WHO of not carrying out its duties and hiding the spread of Covid-19.
“Yesterday [Tuesday], the US announced it would stop providing grants to the WHO, to which it annually gives between $400 and $500 million. Therefore, I think, more or less, his comments are targeted at countries that have been talking with the WHO,” Phea said.
He expressed the belief that the WHO’s cooperation with Cambodia is good and that the Cambodian government is pleased. However, he said other countries that are allies of the US also seem to be unhappy with it.
In his view, the Covid-19 global pandemic was not caused by the WHO, but the neglect of countries that have a high level or spread but failed to assess how disastrous the actual situation was, combined with the attitudes of the people, culture and decisions of the leaders in those countries.