Withdraw Peace Corps volunteers, Hun Sen tells US
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.