Obama meets with Cambodia's longtime 'strongman'


Associated Press

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 19 at 11:05 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — White House officials are describing as tense today's meeting in Cambodia between President Barack Obama and the country's prime minister, Hun Sen.

They say Obama emphasized his concerns about Cambodia's human rights situation.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says Hun Sen defended his record, telling Obama that Cambodia has a unique set of circumstances. He says the Cambodian leader expressed a wish for stronger ties to the United States.

Obama is the first U.S. president to visit Cambodia -- a visit that is taking place only because the country is hosting the annual East Asia Summit.

Hun Sen, who is 60, has held power since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. And he says he's not stepping down for another 30 years. He is eager to win international respectability to go along with his country's economic growth.

%@AP Links

176-c-17-(Julie Pace, AP correspondent)-"Cambodia was defensive"-AP correspondent Julie Pace reports that White House officials describe a tense meeting between President Obama's and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. ((note audio quality)) (19 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *176 (11/19/12)>> 00:17 "Cambodia was defensive"

178-c-17-(Julie Pace, AP correspondent)-"the Communist Party"-AP correspondent Julie Pace reports that President Obama finishes his journey with the East Asian Summit. ((note audio quality)) (19 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *178 (11/19/12)>> 00:17 "the Communist Party"

GRAPHICSBANK: US (top) and Cambodia flags, partial graphic (18 Nov 2012)

APPHOTO KHCK162: U.S. President Barack Obama is welcomed by Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen as he arrives at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, Obama will attend the East Asia Summit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (19 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO KHCK162 (11/19/12)>>