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Cambodia's Has Muted Reaction to News of US Spying

FILE - General Tea Banh, Cambodia's Defense Minister, waits for his turn to speak at 11th International Institute of Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit, in Singapore, June 2012.
Cambodian authorities say they are not prepared to offer a strong reaction to allegations that U.S. spy agencies eavesdropped on regional leaders.

Asian nations, including Indonesia and China, have called for explanations of reports that U.S. intelligence agents used diplomatic missions in the region as "cover" to conceal their electronic spying.

In Phnom Penh, however, Defense Minister Tea Banh told VOA's Khmer service there is not adequate justification for formal complaint to Washington.

“If they do it for surveillance or spying, it is surely hard to confirm," the minister said, "and there might be no evidence to make any allegation. This is almost impossible.”

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said he found the U.S. actions confounding. “I’m saying this on my own behalf, not for my government,” he said. “The U.S. is normally a promoter of democracy, freedom and human rights, but why would they do this? I don’t know what they want.”

Allegations about U.S. spying in Southeast Asia are the latest in a series of disclosures about the widespread range of U.S. surveillance programs.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.