US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy on Wednesday praised Cambodia for its growth and said relations between the countries were based on a solid foundation of cooperation that would ensure the continued strengthening of ties.
Murphy said such a strong base meant that any differences between the nations could be easily resolved.
He was speaking to journalists during commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Cambodia.
Senior Cambodian officials participated in the event on Wednesday evening at the Futures Factory in the capital’s Daun Penh district.
“We have a strong foundation, and we want to focus on the areas where we can cooperate, for example in public health, education and in other areas that benefit the Cambodian people and the American people. We are going to focus on that and make that foundation even stronger,” Murphy said.
Asked what he considered was Cambodia’s most important recent achievement, he replied: “We very much admire that Cambodia has come from a very difficult and dark period, especially over the past two and a half decades.”
Murphy said he wanted to see further improvements based on the Cambodian Constitution.
“We hope that with efforts in these areas, including in human rights, democracy and progress, we will move forward together,” he said.
Ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan welcomed Murphy’s remarks, saying they would help strengthen US-Cambodia relations.
He said the US Ambassador understood the foundation of the ties between the two countries, which were based on mutual respect and non-interference.
“Patrick Murphy has shown he respects the strengthening of relations, friendship, solidarity and cooperation, especially regarding the diplomatic relations of the past 70 years.
“Since he has arrived, he has not intruded in the internal affairs of Cambodia,” Eysan said.
He said previous US Ambassador William A Heidt had caused difficulties between the countries.
“Past differences resulted from the previous ambassador, who did not know how to carry out diplomatic work and derailed the foreign policy of US President Donald Trump’s government. William A Heidt and his successor Patrick Murphy are as different as the land and the sky,” Eysan said.
Commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of US-Cambodian diplomatic relations on Wednesday began with a parade of 25 tuk-tuks travelling from the US embassy to Wat Phnom for prayers, before heading to the event at the Future Factory.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Koy Kuong declined to comment on Murphy’s remarks.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the US Ambassador’s words were another positive development in the rebuilding of trust between the US and the Kingdom, while they would also encourage Cambodia to adhere to the Constitution and its foreign policy of neutrality.