Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a town hall meeting with Cambodian youth at the Chaktomuk Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 1. The Secretary discussed Cambodia's future and the partnership between Cambodia and the United States.
Secretary Clinton said, "Today, Cambodia is in the process of transformation. Peace reigns, the economy has grown fast for a decade, trade and foreign investment are increasing, tens of thousands of new jobs have been created, roads that were once impassable have been de-mined and rebuilt. The tribunal that was set up by Cambodia, the United Nations, and the international community is bringing some of the people who caused so much suffering to justice. That is very important work, although I'm well aware that the work of the tribunal is painful, but it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace. And I thank everyone who has supported that.
"This progress is testament to the hard work and determination of the Cambodian people -- you, your parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends -- and the United States wants to help you keep that progress going. We think Cambodia has a very bright future, not only on your own but as part of a growing and thriving region. Right outside this building is the great Mekong River, one of the great rivers in the world. And yet climate change, dam building, is beginning to impede the flow and the predictability of that great river. This is just one of the challenges that will have to be addressed by you and your generation.
"We want to help Cambodia establish a new era of opportunity so that you do not fear for the future, but you look forward to it; you find good jobs, you develop your talents, and you make your contribution. The United States Government has invested more than $70 million just this year for Cambodia's economic development. We are also working in other areas. Our health experts are working experts to expand access to critical services for people, including prevention, treatment, and care for those living with HIV and AIDS. Our law enforcement experts are working together to crack down on human trafficking and child sex tourism. Yesterday, I visited a shelter in Siem Reap run by a friend of mine, a heroic Cambodian woman named Somaly Mam who herself was enslaved and escaped from that and now devotes her life to helping other women and girls escape as well."
The Secretary continued, "...And now I am here with you -- young people, whose lives have been lived in peace, blessed with talents and energy, freedom to pursue your own dreams. You are the best evidence for Cambodia's present and future potential. You really do represent the best hope, as young people in every country do. And I look forward to learning how the United States, both our government and our people, can be partners with you to help you realize your own dreams, but just as importantly to help your country have a future of peace, democracy, stability, and prosperity for all."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
Secretary Clinton is traveling to Hawaii, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia October 27-November 8. You can learn about the Secretary's trip here.