The US assistant state secretary in charge of the East Asia and Pacific region is set to travel to Cambodia and Laos from May 1-7 to discuss bilateral relations and next month’s ASEAN-US Special Summit, according to the US state department on April 29.
The US Department of State said in a statement that during his visit to Cambodia, Daniel Kritenbrink is due to meet Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and “other senior officials”, along with “youth and civil society leaders” and discuss Cambodia-US ties and the North American country’s support for the Kingdom’s year as the ASEAN chair.
In Laos, Kritenbrink is to lead the US-Laos Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and discuss closer cooperation with Cambodia’s northern neighbour and “forge deeper connection” with the country as Mekong-US Partnership co-chair this year.
The assistant secretary will also meet with Mekong River Commission officials and “engage” with alumni of state department exchange programmes, the statement said.
“The visits will highlight US commitment to two of the youngest and most dynamic societies in the region, reinforcing ASEAN centrality, underscoring the United States’ commitment to the Mekong-US Partnership to address transboundary challenges, and promoting a secure, open and prosperous Mekong sub-region,” it added.
Kritenbrink will also discuss the upcoming ASEAN-US Special Summit to be hosted by US President Joe Biden in Washington on May 12-13, which Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to attend.