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

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,