Cambodian official has no reason to fear honest debate

Asia Times contributor Sim Vireak's 'response' to a recent column falls short in several ways

The day after I published an opinion piece here in Asia Times on November 12 (Cambodia should be worried about the Biden presidency), Sim Vireak responded in this same publication with what was styled as a retort of my arguments. I’m thankful any time I start a debate, but I feel a more formal response is in order given his official rank.

Readers of his piece might have wanted to be informed that, as well as his academic titles, Sim Vireak is an official at Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the director general of the General Department of ASEAN, no less. In fact, he holds the honorific “his excellency,” reserved for high-ranking officials.

In his bio for Asia Times, as well as his other publications, however, he only describes himself as a “career diplomat,” an innuendo probably not motivated by humility. One must then wonder whether his words are his own personal ones or those shared by the Foreign Ministry.

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