Senators from the United States will reintroduce a bill aimed at Cambodian officials on human rights issues.

Leading US senators said on Thursday that they intend to reintroduce legislation that would allow sanctions to be imposed on senior Cambodian officials who undermine democracy, engage in corruption, or violate human rights.

The Cambodia Democracy and Human Rights Act, proposed by Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Dick Durbin and Republican Marco Rubio, would also require the president of the United States to submit to Congress a report on China’s activities in Cambodia, assessing whether they have resulted in a deterioration of democracy and human rights.

A statement from Markey’s office said sanctions would include blocking of assets and that the bill – an earlier version of which was introduced in the previous Congress and passed the House – would codify exiting visa restrictions on Cambodian officials.

It would also allow the suspension of sanctions if the president certified that Cambodia was “making meaningful progress towards ending government efforts to undermine democracy, ending related human rights violations, and conducting free and fair elections.”

Markey and Rubio focused their criticism on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for more than 35 years.

“This legislation makes clear that the United States will not stand by as Hun Sen and his cronies corrupt Cambodian democracy, persecute and jail opposition and political activists, target free speech and independent media, and enrich themselves through rampant corruption,” Markey said in the statement.

Rubio referred to Hun Sen as a “dictator” who had repressed critics, including the US radio station Radio Free Asia. He stated that Cambodia “continues to regress” after making strides towards democracy in previous decades.

During a visit to Cambodia in June, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman expressed concern about China’s military presence and sought clarification on the demolition of US-funded buildings.

Sherman, the highest-ranking American official to visit Cambodia in years, urged the country to “maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy in the best interests of the Cambodian people.”

Ahead of that meeting, Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan called for dialogue between Cambodia and the United States.

“There are some issues that the United States doesn’t understand clearly about Cambodia and that Cambodia does not understand the intentions of the United States,” Phay Siphan told Reuters.

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