A government official on Monday moved to clarify a report by state news agency Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) that Prime Minister Hun Sen had been invited to give the keynote speech at a prestigious summit in Tokyo later this month, saying that in fact former U.S. President Bill Clinton was already booked as the speaker.
AKP reported Friday that Mr. Hun Sen had been invited to speak at the Global Opinion Leaders Summit on November 16 in Tokyo by its organizer, Haruhisa Handa, a Japanese philanthropist who runs the Worldwide Support for Development organization.
The previous Global Opinion Leaders Summit was held in Tokyo in September and featured former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as keynote speaker, who discussed topics such as: Considering Peace: Highlighting the Irish Peace Process Experience; and Development in the Middle East.
According to AKP, Mr. Hun Sen’s keynote speech was to focus on “Cambodia’s past experience, especially the country’s Win-Win policy.”
Kao Kim Hourn, a minister without portfolio delegated to Mr. Hun Sen, said Monday that the AKP news report should have stated that Mr. Hun Sen had only been informed that Mr. Clinton was giving the address.
“During the meeting, Dr. Handa was simply conveying information [to Mr. Hun Sen] about the summit in Tokyo on November 16, which has already invited former President Bill Clinton,” said Mr. Kim Hourn, who is also president of the University of Cambodia, which Mr. Handa is both founder and current chancellor.
“However, Dr. Handa also stated during the meeting that he may plan a future [summit] to which the prime minister could be invited,” Mr. Kim Hourn said.
Photographs on AKP’s website taken during Friday’s meeting at the Peace Palace show Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Handa embracing.
Mr. Handa previously invited Mr. Hun Sen to give a keynote speech in July 2012 to the graduating class at the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, and the prime minister has conferred Mr. Handa with the honorary title of Commander of the Royal Order of Sahametrei, according to his profile on the Handa Foundation’s website.
Mr. Handa’s Foundation has built several hospitals in Cambodia.
Under the name Toshu Fukami, he is also the author of a series of self-help manuals offering advice on how to be more successful.