Making history a second time, Obama has stopped in Cambodia, though this stop lacks the rousing welcome of Myanmar. Lacking the democratic promise of Myanmar, Obama sternly noted that the visit was not an endorsement of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government. The tense meeting with the Cambodian leader had Obama citing human rights abuses as keeping a US relationship from developing:
From the airport, Obama headed straight to the Peace Palace for a meeting with Hun Sen that later was described by U.S. officials as a tense encounter dominated by the president voicing concerns about Cambodia’s human rights record. He specifically raised the lack of free and fair elections, the detention of political prisoners and land seizures, officials said.
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama told the prime minister that those issues are “an impediment” to a deeper relationship between the U.S. and Cambodia. Rhodes said Hun Sen defended his country’s record, saying unique circumstances motivate its policies and practices. Still, the prime minister expressed a desire to deepen ties with the U.S., Rhodes said.