America’s top diplomat was in Cambodia Tuesday on the second stop of his trip to Asia.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Cambodian government leaders and opposition party members in Phnom Penh.
Kerry said the country has improved its human rights record and made economic progress. But he said he told officials that he was concerned about continued human rights violations.
Kerry met separately with Prime Minister Hun Sen and acting opposition party leader Kem Sokha.
After the meetings, the U.S. official said that “democratic governments have a responsibility to ensure that all elected representatives are free to perform their responsibilities without fear of attack or arrest.”
Seventeen opposition members and activists are jailed in Cambodia. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is living in self-declared exile to avoid charges made against him. Many observers believe the charges are unfair. And rights groups say the United States should not improve relations with Cambodia until its leaders guarantee reforms.
Secretary Kerry also praised Cambodia for its economic progress. He told the prime minister that “Cambodia has experienced remarkable growth. You have seen incredible changes -- not just here in Phnom Penh, which moved from a 350,000-person war-torn city to a much more modern city of 2.2 million people.”
I’m Ashley Thompson.
VOA State Department Correspondent Pam Dockins reported on this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
remarkable – adj. unusual or surprising; likely to be noticed
incredible – adj. extremely good, great, or large