Cambodia and ASEAN Leaders to Continue Enhancing the ASEAN Centrality and Unity

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and his ASEAN counterparts at the 42nd ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia reaffirmed their commitment to continue enhancing the ASEAN Centrality and Unity in its engagement with external partners at a time of great uncertainty, and rapid evolving regional and global orders.

The reaffirmation was made known by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a news release issued this afternoon after end end of the two-day summit on May 11.

According to the source, the ASEAN Leaders also stressed the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in governing inter-state relations, and maintaining peace, security and stability in the region. They also welcomed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Mexico to accede to the TAC, and hoped their signing will take place this year.

During the meetings, ASEAN Leaders reiterated their support for Indonesia’s ASEAN Chairmanship under the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth” and were pleased with the progress made in the realization of ASEAN’s priorities in 2023, especially in transforming ASEAN into a Community that is robust, agile, and equipped with strengthened capacity and institutional effectiveness.

“They also welcomed Indonesia’s priorities and initiatives, namely (i) Recovery and Rebuilding, (ii) Digital Economy, and (iii) Sustainability. The Leaders were also committed to make ASEAN a driver of global growth, and a force for peace through inclusive economic integration, digital transformation, sustainable development, financial stability, energy and food security, and human resource development. Further, they emphasised the importance of working with partners to advance the implementation of ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific through concrete projects and practical cooperation”, it underlined.

Besides, the Leaders looked forward to the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit for the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation on December 16-18, 2023 in Tokyo, and the convening of a Special Summit to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations in March 2024 in Australia. Moreover, they welcomed the proposal to hold the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in the second half of this year in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On the sidelines of the 42nd ASEAN Summit, Samdech Techo Prime Minister, together with other ASEAN Leaders, also attended ASEAN Leaders’ Interfaces with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), ASEAN Youth Representatives, ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) and High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision (HLTF-ACV). During the Interfaces, Samdech Techo Prime Minister highlighted the followings:

• ASEAN must respond to both regional and global challenges in a timely, effective and proactive manner, especially to those on which ASEAN cannot reach consensus without letting them affect the ASEAN Community Building process and regional integration.

• Strengthening the ASEAN Community shall not affect the fundamental principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, in particular the principles of decision-making based on consultation and consensus and non-interference in the internal affairs of Member States.

• The ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision needs to respond to the rapidly evolving regional and global trends such as the green agenda, digital economy, modern technology, global value chains, transport connectivity and logistics in order to make ASEAN future-ready and future-proof.

• While acknowledging the need to make the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision visionary, inspirational, and forward-looking, the Leaders underlined the need to strike a balance between pragmatism and ambition.

Most importantly, the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision should be action-oriented, and place the people at the center of the Community Building efforts.

• On Myanmar, it is important to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, and ASEAN Leaders’ Review and Decision on the Implementation of the Five-Point Consensus adopted in 2022. Furthermore, ASEAN should maintain high degree of patience, flexibility and creativity, and explore any potential approach that may help Myanmar restore peace and return to normalcy.

• In the context of rising geopolitical and geoeconomic competition, ASEAN needs to enhance its relevance, and strengthen ASEAN-led mechanisms, so that it continues to play a central and leading role in addressing regional and global challenges. Cambodia also highlighted that ASEAN should welcome any initiatives from its partners as long as they are in line with the ASEAN Charter and the AOIP, contribute to peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, and will not be used against one another.

In his stay in Labuan Bajo, Samdech Techo Prime Minister paid a courtesy call on H.E. Joko Widodo, the President Indonesia. Samdech Techo Prime Minister also held bilateral talks with H.E. Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of Vietnam, and Timor-Leste Prime Minister H.E. Taur Matan Ruak, respectively, to exchange views on a wide range of issues of strategic significance to ASEAN and our bilateral relations.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse