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Jakarta Post

Obama finds Southeast Asia much tougher than he thought

  • Murray Hunter

Jakarta   /   Sat, November 24 2012   /  09:38 am

US President Barack Obama’s visits to both Thailand and Myanmar went symbolically well. He did all the right things in Thailand and in spite of all the reservations about Obama’s Myanmar visit, he may have sent all the right messages, particularly through the way the visit was orchestrated and his speech at Rangoon University where he talked strongly about inclusiveness. Local news reports in local papers warmly reported the visit.

However the same could not be said for his visit to Cambodia.

Like Myanmar, Obama’s trip to Cambodia was also criticized by some human rights activists. And probably it was a visit with more concerns because, unlike Myanmar’s Thein Sien who has started on a road of liberalization and opening up to the world, Hun Sen is reluctant to carry out any major reform in the country.

Human rights watch published a list of numerous breache...