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Interview: U.S., Chinese leaders attendance reflects ASEAN's significance: Cambodia official


08:50, November 16, 2012

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The participation of the newly re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the forthcoming 21st ASEAN Summit and related Summits will mirror the bloc's important role on international arena, Cambodian government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said.

Obama will make a 3 Asian nation tour, which will bring him to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia from Nov. 17-20, the White House announced last Thursday. In Cambodia, he will attend the 7th East Asia Summit and meet with the ASEAN leaders.

"It will be the first time that the incumbent U.S. president visits Cambodia. More importantly, it will be the first Obama's visit overseas after he was re-elected as the U.S. president in the 2nd term," Kanharith told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"The presence of Obama in the forthcoming ASEAN Summits will bring closer ties between all countries in the region and the United States, and each side can learn from each other," he said.

However, some analysts said that U.S. active involvement with the ASEAN will be a future chance for the country to intervene into ASEAN internal affairs.

Kanharith said, "It is up to ASEAN. If ASEAN holds a firm stance, other countries will be unable to intervene into ASEAN's internal affairs."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will start his official visit to Cambodia from Nov. 18, according to a press statement from Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

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