Obama Meets with Cambodia's Longtime 'Strongman'

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

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.

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