With­draw Peace Corps vol­un­teers, Hun Sen tells US

New Straits Times - - World -

PH­NOM PENH: Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen called on the United States yes­ter­day to with­draw Peace Corps vol­un­teers, in an es­ca­lat­ing row over ac­cu­sa­tions that US agents con­spired with an op­po­si­tion leader to plot trea­son.

Hun Sen was re­spond­ing after the US em­bassy here is­sued a travel warn­ing that urged cit­i­zens to show cau­tion amid “anti-Amer­i­can rhetoric by of­fi­cials”.

“Are you scar­ing Cam­bo­di­ans?” Hun

Sen said of the US in an ad­dress to gar­ment work­ers at fac­to­ries, which ex­port much of their pro­duc­tion to the US.

“Are you pre­pared to in­vade Cam­bo­dia and that’s why you told Amer­i­cans to be care­ful? It’s good if you pull out the Peace Corps,” he added. The US em­bassy de­clined to com­ment. It had pre­vi­ously dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tions of col­lu­sion with op­po­si­tion leader Kem Sokha and called for his re­lease.

Yes­ter­day, the em­bassy was swear­ing in 71 new vol­un­teers from the Peace Corps, which sends Amer­i­cans abroad to help with lo­cal pro­jects to pro­mote mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.

Hun Sen said he had or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether any Amer­i­cans were in­volved with Kem Sokha.

Hun Sen, a close ally of China, had taken a se­ries of mea­sures against US in­ter­ests this year, from end­ing joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises to ex­pelling a naval aid unit to forc­ing a US-funded prodemoc­racy group to leave.

Hun Sen

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