PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- On the heels of his historic trip to Myanmar, President Obama landed in Cambodia on Monday night for a dose of summitry and quickly found himself in a "tense" meeting with his host, an aide said.
Obama met with Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen in the marble hallways of the Peace Palace, his first stop after leaving the country's eastern neighbor. Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar, and he cast his trip as a reward for that government's recent "flicker of progress" toward democracy after decades of authoritarian rule.
But Obama was not willing to shower the same encouragement on Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge official and target of human rights watchdogs.
Hun Sen did not smile before entering the private meeting with the president. Once out of earshot of the media, Obama told the prime minister that Cambodia must undertake fair elections and release political prisoners, calling such shortcomings an "impediment" to deepening ties between the two countries, according to Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communication.