Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cambodia slammed in latest WikiLeak cables

Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew said Cambodia should not have been accepted into ASEAN due to its lack of shared values with the bloc’s founding members, according to a secret diplomatic cable released yesterday by the website WikiLeaks.

The cable, marked “confidential” and sent by the United States embassy in Singapore, documents a 2007 meeting between Lee and top American officials. At the meeting, Lee reportedly said ASEAN should not have admitted Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam as members in the 1990s.

“The older members of ASEAN shared common values and an antipathy to communism,” the cable states, describing Lee’s views.

“Those values had been ‘muddied’ by the new members, and their economic and social problems made it doubtful they would ever behave like the older ASEAN members.”

Lee, Singapore’s long-serving former prime minister, went on to say that he was most optimistic about the Vietnamese, describing them as “bright, fast learners” who would contribute to ASEAN’s development. He also said Hanoi did not wish to see China’s influence in the region become too great.

In comparison, he said, Cambodia had “not recovered yet from its difficult history and the political system is too personalised around Prime Minister Hun Sen”.

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