Cambodia Deflects North Korea’s Request

Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong on Thursday deflected a request by North Korea’s outgoing ambassador to send a delegation to Cambodia for diplomatic meetings, according to the ministry’s spokesman.

Having long had friendly relations with North Korea, Cambodia’s government joined an international chorus of criticism in January after the pariah state announced it had detonated its first hydrogen bomb.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said North Korea’s ambassador, Hong Ki Chol, proposed to send a diplomatic delegation to Cambodia during his final meeting with Mr. Namhong on Thursday.

“His Excellency [Mr. Namhong] told the ambassador that currently Samdech Techo Prime Minister Hun Sen is busy in the meeting, as well as visiting other countries,” Mr. Sounry said.

Asked whether the response could be interpreted as Cambodia snubbing North Korea, the spokesman said: “Diplomatic words, they are not said directly like that.”

Mr. Ki Chol also raised North Korea’s security concerns during the meeting, to which Mr. Namhong responded that Cambodia supported a negotiated resolution with South Korea.

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