Asia’s longest-serving leader still not a statesman

Cambodian PM Hun Sen has been in power since 1985 but unlike other long-serving regional leaders has failed to impress on the global stage.

Just three days before Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen jetted off to Paris for one of his first visits to France in years, Cambodian researchers discovered the remains of a Cambodia-France Friendship Statue that had been destroyed by the genocidal Khmer Rouge in 1977.

The leader’s promise to repair the statue could so easily be read as a symbol of his government’s promise to repair relations with the West, now that Cambodia is increasingly fearful of its growing Chinese dependency.  

European states have been very critical of Hun Sen’s autocratic regime. Ahead of his state dinner at the Elysee Palace, Cambodia’s large exiled opposition movement in France hurled angry messages far and wide.

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