Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen says US is playing down legacy of Vietnam war

Hun Sen says US is playing down legacy of Vietnam war

CMAC officials work to neutralise a US-made tear gas bomb in Svay Rieng province earlier this month.
CMAC officials work to neutralise a US-made tear gas bomb in Svay Rieng province earlier this month. Photo supplied

Hun Sen says US is playing down legacy of Vietnam war

Prime Minister Hun Sen responded to the United States Embassy’s accusations that the Cambodian government had politicised the discovery and removal of ordnance in Svay Rieng province’s Koki commune, saying the Americans were trying to minimise their war legacy.

“In the past you dropped chemical weapons in Cambodia, but today you say it is tear gas instead,” he said during a Sunday speech to garment workers, referring to the tear gas bombs found in Koki commune. “Tear gas does not have an effect for over 40 years.”

The premier seemed to be referring to birth defects caused by the defoliant Agent Orange used by the US military in Cambodia, though the bombs discovered in the commune over the last year appear to contain substances that do not cause birth defects. The comments also seem to contradict statements by Heng Ratana, director of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, saying the chemical substance found was chlorobenzalononitrile-2, a type of tear gas.

“Chemical bombs were dropped causing leaves to fall . . . Babies born with big heads, big eyes and irregular bodies,” Hun Sen said in the speech in an apparent reference to the effects of Agent Orange.

Read more: The day ‘the sky became smoke white’

The premier then invited officials from the US Embassy and the Peace Corps to visit the area.

“If possible, the US Embassy should bring some soil there to plant at the embassy,” he said.

The embassy declined to comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and