Phnom Penh (FN), Oct. 2 – Spokesperson of the US Embassy Phnom Penh, Emily V. Zeeberg defended all higher education diplomas provided by US institutions.

Emily wrote in an email response to Fresh News’ question on Wednesday following former opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s allegation over Hun Manet's fake degree issued by West Point US Military Academy.

“Graduates of US colleges, universities, or institutes of higher learning receive degrees or certifications if they meet the requirements of that institution. A student’s country of origin is not a factor,” Emily stated in email.

“We welcome Cambodian students’ interest in studying abroad in the United States. US higher education institutions have an unmatched reputation for academic quality and critical thinking, and provide excellent English language preparation for future careers. In the last year alone, the number of Cambodian students studying in the United States rose nearly 30 percent,” she added.

Dr. Hun Manet, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was the first Cambodian to graduate from West Point Military Academy of the United States in 1999. Today, he serves as Cambodian army commander.

On 28 September 2019, Rainsy told supporters in the US: “Manet’s degree is a 2nd degree and was given for diplomatic reasons as the US wanted to build good relations. They give this to the sons of foreign prime ministers and presidents to show off in their home countries.”

In response, General Hun Manet, on Monday, called out Rainsy to wager with him over allegations that his from West Point was a fake one.

Sam Rainsy denied by saying that, “the real knowledge and expertise are shown through practical achievement and accountability without the needs to swear or wager like kids,” Sam Rainsy wrote on Facebook on 30 September 2019.

In the same statement, Rainsy said “Hun Sen and his family provide bad examples for the Cambodian youth and the education system in Cambodia by boasting their fake degrees or second-class diplomas associated with lower level education compared to the standard level.”