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Clinton Highlights U.S. Commitment To Strengthening Health Systems, Food Security In Cambodia During Asia-Pacific Tour

The U.S. is committed to working “closely together to help meet the challenges facing Cambodia and all of Southeast Asia,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Monday during a stop in Cambodia as part of her Asia-Pacific tour, that United Press International reports (11/1).

“Clinton is on the second leg of a seven-country swing through Asia,” the Washington Post reports. “The trip is designed to reinforce a central plank of foreign policy in the Obama administration: that the United States views Asia as key to the future and that the United States must act in this region to balance China’s influence. President Obama also heads to Asia this week for meetings in India, Indonesia and South Korea,” according to the newspaper (Pomfret, 11/2).

“With help from the United States government, Cambodia is doing more than ever before to improve its health systems. And in particular, we applaud the government of Cambodia for its commitment to prevent the spread of HIV and deliver life-saving treatment to people living with AIDS,” Clinton said during a press conference where the secretary was joined by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, according to a State Department transcript from the press briefing.

Highlighting the commitment of the U.S. to strengthening Cambodia’s food security, Clinton said, “Through our whole-of-government Feed the Future Initiative, we will be helping the people of Cambodia mount a comprehensive fight against hunger by raising agricultural productivity and making nutritious foods more widely available,” according to the transcript (11/1).

Clinton also noted the progress Cambodia has made on human rights issues and described the presence of the U.N.’s human rights office in Cambodia as being “‘a valuable resource,'” VOA News reports (Carmichael, 11/1).

“Hor Namhong said the United States has helped Cambodia in many sectors including health,” Xinhua reports. “And now, he said, Cambodia is requesting the United States to provide more tax exemptions for Cambodian goods exporting to U.S. market, saying the United States is a huge market for Cambodia with the total trades of nearly 3 billion U.S. dollars. … He said such volumes are helping Cambodia in social and economic development,” according to the news service (Bill, 11/1).

“The United States government has invested more than $70 million just this year for Cambodia’s economic development,” Clinton said during a town hall with Cambodian youth, according to a State Department transcript of the event (11/1).

During Clinton’s two-day trip to Cambodia the secretary met with government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, Xinhua adds. Clinton was to leave Cambodia “late Monday for Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia,” according to the news service (11/1).

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