Cambodian PM Hun Sen backs U.S. Republican candidate Trump
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Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) arrives before a plenary session at the National Assembly of Cambodia, in central Phnom Penh, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Samrang Pring
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PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday he wanted U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump to win next week's election because Trump would reduce tension with Russia and be good for world peace.
Hun Sen is a self-styled strongman whose has ruled for three decades. He has at times reacted angrily to U.S. concerns about the state of human rights and corruption in Cambodia.
Most recently, the United States, European Union and United Nations have expressed concern about rising tension between Hun Sen's government and the opposition ahead of a general election in 2018.
"I really want Trump to win," Hun Sen said in a speech to thousands of police officers at police academy ceremony.
"If Trump wins, the world will change and may be in a good situation because Trump is a businessman so he doesn't want war ... there can be friendship between Trump and Putin," he said, referring to Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Putin has praised Trump as "very talented", while the Republican candidate has said the Kremlin boss is a better leader than U.S. President Barack Obama.
Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has accused Trump of being too cozy with Putin and questioned his business interests in Russia.
Hun Sen, who has met Clinton on several occasions including twice when she visited Cambodia as Secretary of State, criticized the Democrat candidate saying she had advised Obama to launch attacks in Syria.
He said the relationship between the United States and Russia may worsen if Hillary won next Tuesday.
The then Soviet Union supported Cambodia for a decade after the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge were driven from power by Vietnamese forces in early 1979.
The two countries have recently improved their relationship as Russia has taken steps to re-build ties in Southeast Asia.
(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, Robert Birsel)
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