The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs called on Prime Minister Hun Sen to stand down during an event attended by CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha in California on Saturday night.
Speaking at a CNRP fundraising event, Ed Royce, a Republican congressman in a district that covers part of the Cambodian-American community in Long Beach, rebuked Mr. Hun Sen for corruption and electoral fraud.
“As chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the United States Congress, we say: Enough to the stealing of elections, enough to the stealing of land and enough to the corruption,” he says in a video of the event uploaded to Mr. Sokha’s Facebook page Sunday.
“We say enough to Hun Sen. Hun Sen must go. We want fair elections in Cambodia.”
Mr. Royce said that 40 percent of Cambodia’s land has now been taken through land grabs, and added that with the claims of fraud in the July 28 national election, “it is time for the international community to say ‘Enough: This is not fair.’”
Photographs posted to Facebook alongside the video by Mr. Sokha show the deputy opposition leader standing with Mr. Royce’s staff under CNRP-branded banners reading: “Welcome to Cambodia Town, Long Beach, California, USA, U.S. Congressman Ed Royce. You are our hope.”
After Mr. Royce’s speech, Mr. Sokha offered his thanks for the U.S. representative’s support.
“I am excited to see the U.S. representative claiming a precise stance that he wants to see Cambodia have real democracy as U.S. citizens have,” he says in the clip.
“I have personally been financially supported by the American government to extend democracy for more than five years,” Mr. Sokha adds. “Today the results of the assistance from American citizens have helped Cambodians to stand up.”
Mr. Sokha, who was first elected to the National Assembly for the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party in 1993 and later served as a Funcinpec senator, used a $450,000 grant from the International Republican Institute in November 2002 to found the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.
CNRP permanent committee member Kem Monovithya—who is also Mr. Sokha’s eldest daughter—confirmed that the event at Long Beach was part of a fundraising trip to the U.S. in the lead-up to two CNRP mass demonstrations in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh this month.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan, himself a U.S. citizen, said Mr. Royce’s comments were to be expected from a congressman elected to a constituency that has many pro-opposition Cambodian-Americans.
“The U.S. has a number of politicians, especially in the House, who head committees, and they just shout out to gain popularity by framing Cambodia as Communist,” he said, adding that U.S.-Cambodian relations remain strong.
“The executive branch in the U.S. is very close to Cambodia. We cooperate together. It’s going very well.”