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U.S.-Cambodia Relations

Fact Sheet released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State,
June 20, 1997.

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The United States recognized Cambodia on February 7, 1950, and between 1955 and 1963 provided $409.6 million in economic grant aid and $83.7 million in military assistance. This aid was used primarily to repair damage caused by the first Indochina war, to support internal security forces, and for the construction of an all-weather road to the seaport of Sihanoukville, which gave Cambodia its first direct access to the sea and access to the southwestern hinterlands.

Relations deteriorated in the early 1960s as U.S. involvement in Vietnam deepened. Diplomatic relations were broken by Cambodia in May 1965, but were reestablished on July 2, 1969. U.S. relations continued after the establishment of the Khmer Republic. Between 1970 and 1975, as the civil war escalated, the United States provided $1.18 billion in military assistance and $503 million in economic assistance to the Cambodian Government. With the defeat of the Lon Nol Government in 1975 by the Khmer Rouge forces, the U.S. mission was evacuated on April 12, 1975.

The United States condemned the brutal character of the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. The U.S. also opposed the military occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam and supported ASEAN's efforts to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the problem. This was accomplished on October 23, 1991, when the Paris Conference reconvened to sign a comprehensive settlement. The United States opened a mission in Phnom Penh on November 11, 1991, headed by Mr. Charles H. Twining, Jr., designated U.S. Special Representative to the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC). On January 3, 1992, the U.S. embargo was lifted, normalizing economic relations with Cambodia. The U.S. also ended blanket opposition to lending to Cambodia by international financial institutions. When the freely elected Royal Cambodian Government was formed on September 24, 1993, the United States and the Kingdom of Cambodia immediately established full diplomatic relations.

During his August 1995 visit, then-Secretary Christopher reaffirmed the President's and the U.S. Government's continuing commitment to Cambodia's democracy, its emerging civic organizations, and its nascent market economy. The United States continues to support efforts in Cambodia to build democratic institutions, promote human rights, foster economic development, eliminate corruption, improve security, achieve the fullest possible accounting for POW/MIAs, and to bring members of the Khmer Rouge to justice for their crimes.

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