China’s hold on Cambodia hard for Biden to break

Washington and Phnom Penh suggest it's time for a diplomatic reset but US will need to pay to make fresh inroads.

The narrative surrounding US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to Phnom Penh last week was that Washington eyes a possible reset of relations with Cambodia.

Even a recent article from Cambodia’s state-owned news agency, which long-ruling Prime Minister Hun Sen shared online, played up the rapprochement hype by stating it is “time for the US and Cambodia, in China’s shadow, to reset ties.”

Sherman, the most senior US official to visit Cambodia in years, arrived in Phnom Penh amid a quick-hop tour across Asia. She held a one-on-one meeting with Hun Sen, at which she reportedly appealed for Cambodia to maintain an “independent and balanced foreign policy.”

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