The State Department did not disclose which Cambodian ruling party officials would be affected by the restrictions but said in certain instances, their relatives could be also be barred from entering the US.
The US State Department said in a statement that it was taking "concrete steps" to respond to actions taken by Prime Minister Hun Sen's government in Cambodia, which it said "run counter to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991 that ... afforded the Cambodian people democratic rights".
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held power for more than three decades, has sought to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of national elections next year. Kem Sokha was arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government with USA help.
"In direct response to the Cambodian government's series of anti-democratic actions, we announce the Secretary of State will restrict entry into the United States of those individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia", said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. The department cited a provision of USA immigration law under which individuals can be denied entry if the secretary determines it would have "adverse foreign policy consequences".
The latest condemnation from the United States comes after the White House cut funding for the nation's upcoming national election, reasoning in a statement issued last month that the 2018 election vote "will not be legitimate, free or fair".
"If Cambodian people can not go to U.S., it is ok, it is not a problem", government spokesman Sok Eysan said, shrugging off the State Department threats.
"It is the decision made by the United States government, but for Cambodia, the relationship of the two countries remains the same", he said Thursday.
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He urged Western states to impose targeted sanctions.
Like many prominent opposition figures, Kem has fled Cambodia as she fears arrest.
The government has also intensified restrictions on civil society groups and independent media outlets.
Hun Sen has dismissed Western pressure and built closer ties to China, while opposing US efforts to rally Southeast Asian countries to stand up to Beijing's expanding power in the region. In September, it shut down the English-language Cambodia Daily.
Hun Sen has built close ties to China and dismisses Western pressure to improve rights.
Speaking at Asian leaders' summit attended by Trump last month, Hun Sen praised the U.S. leader for non-interference in affairs of other nations, but complained the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia was not adhering to the policy.
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