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Cambodian Leader Condemns North Korean Nuclear Test


Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has spent the past few days cementing trade and security ties with Australia. During a visit to the country, he also worked with the Australian government to combat cross-border crime, such as child sex abuse. Mr. Hun Sen joined international condemnation of North Korea's claimed nuclear test.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is on a six-day visit to Australia, with the rapidly growing trade between the two countries a key issue.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard says Cambodia is becoming an important trading partner.

"Australia is the third-largest bilateral assistance partner to Cambodia and we have seen our trade albeit from a very small base grow by something like 81 percent during 2005," he noted.

Australian resource giant BHP Billiton has just signed an agreement to prospect for deposits of bauxite in eastern Cambodia.

Canberra and Phnom Penh have also been working together to combat crimes such as people smuggling, drug trafficking, child sex tourism and terrorism.

Australia this week announced a $22 million grant to help rebuild Cambodia's criminal justice system. Australian officials have described the system as "weak in some areas", with corruption a serious problem.

Regional security has also been a dominant issue during Mr. Hun Sen's visit.

In a joint news conference in Canberra with Mr. Howard, the Cambodian leader said that the international community needed a strong and unified response to North Korea's nuclear test.

But Mr. Hun Sen said the world faced a dilemma over the crisis because any sanctions should not affect humanitarian aid to North Korea.

He also said his government was prepared to send troops to East Timor to help with peacekeeping duties.

Cambodia recently dispatched soldiers to Sudan to help clear land mines in one of Africa's worst trouble spots.

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