Hun Sen to visit military-led Myanmar next month

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (AP) – Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen will pay an official visit early next month to military-ruled Myanmar, seeking to patch up the generals’ battered relationship with Southeast Asia’s regional bloc of nations, a spokesperson for the Cambodian leader said yesterday.

Hun Sen’s planned two-day visit would be the first by a head of government to Myanmar since its army seized power in February, ousting the elected administration of Aung San Suu Kyi. It is scheduled for January 7-8.

The military leadership is shunned by many Western governments for the takeover and its consequent brutal repression of opposition to its rule.

About 1,300 civilians have been killed by the security forces according to a detailed tally kept by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

Hun Sen has been in power for 36 years as head of one of Southeast Asia’s most authoritarian governments, whose ranks Myanmar joined when the army seized power.

In October, Cambodia took over as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, giving Hun Sen major influence over the 10-member group.