Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US nixes debt-forgiveness plea

US nixes debt-forgiveness plea

US nixes debt-forgiveness plea

Despite a recent plea from Prime Minister Hun Sen, a United States official said on Friday that the US would not forgive the debt incurred by the Kingdom under the Lon Nol government because Cambodia is “unwilling, rather than unable” to pay.

Joe Yun, deputy assistant secretary for the US state department’s bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said at a congressional hearing that cancelling Cambodia’s debt would “set a bad precedent” for countries in similar positions.

The US gave Cambodia an estimated $317 million in shipments of cotton, rice, wheat flour and other agricultural commodities in the early 1970s, Yun said.

With interest, he estimated that the debt totalled $445 million as of the end of last year.

Because the debt does not exceed 150 percent of exports or 250 percent of government revenues, it does not qualify for forgiveness, Yun said.

Ahead of the US-ASEAN summit in New York last month, Hun Sen referred to the sum in question as a “dirty debt” and called on the US to cancel it.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Cambodia would continue to negotiate with the United States over the debt.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Cambodian women diving deep, going far

    There is a saying in Khmer that “women cannot dive deep or go far”. The meaning is that women should not stray too far from their traditional gender roles. But when Menno de Block, an entrepreneur from the Netherlands, took a good look around his