Earlier today, thousands of my fellow citizens gathered peacefully at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh to mark 70 years of Cambodia’s independence from France. This year, our celebrations take on greater significance as Cambodia is led by a new government with a young and competent leadership headed by Prime Minister Hun Manet.
The leadership of Hun Manet provides the United States with unique opportunities to engage more deeply with my country, and foster a relationship that can benefit both peoples and countries, while contributing to regional peace, stability, and development.
Cambodia’s strategic location in Southeast Asia makes it a crucial player in the region. Historically, the nation has undergone significant political and social transformations, including the Khmer Rouge regime’s brutal reign, when more than 3 million Cambodians were killed between 1975 and 1979, and our subsequent rebuilding efforts. Today, Cambodia is making great strides in establishing itself as a stable and prosperous nation.