Defence Minister Shares Cambodia’s Perspective Over Current Challenges in the World

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, today shared the Kingdom’s perspective over the current challenges in the world including COVID-19 pandemic, Russian-Ukraine War and the sanction, Myanmar conflict, and violence in Africa during his participation in the 20th Asia Security Summit in Singapore.

Samdech Tea Banh said the COVID 19 pandemic was a disaster that all will never forget, nevertheless, all have triumphed over this pandemic through practical measures and a broad scope of cooperation.

On this issue, he also shared the Royal Government’s preventive measures, as well as the decision to allow MS. Westerdam to dock in Sihanoukville amidst the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when her request to dock in numerous places was denied.

“I believe that this event is a great example that Cambodia has set in terms of humanity, indiscrimination, assisting each other and not being self-preserving during pandemic,” he said.

With regards to comprehensive cooperation, Cambodia last year initiated a concept paper concerning cooperation amongst the defence forces of ASEAN Member States in cross-border pandemic containment.

For Russia-Ukraine war, he continued, Cambodia opposed the use of force by one country against another, state separation and occupation of a sovereign state. Cambodia believes that termination of war requires mutual concession which includes stopping the use of force to solve problems, respecting international laws, pausing external encouragement to expand the war and ceasing economic sanctions.

“It is evident, that we do not have any specific models to follow in this situation, other than to acknowledge that we cannot end war through war. The most suitable choice is to end the bloodshed and return to the negotiation table in the spirit of a win-win outcome, as Russia, Ukraine, and other countries in that region will continue to live alongside one another as neighbours for hundreds of years into the future,” the Cambodian defence minister added.

At the same time, Samdech Tea Banh said any solutions should focus on honouring each other and all certainly do not want to see any one being forced against the wall.

“Cambodia supports all initiatives which provide a political solution to end this war, such as China’s 12 points initiative to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Cambodia appeals to international community to provide initiatives with similar objectives to obtain a political settlement. If the fighting continues both parties will ultimately endure tensions between major powers has hindered the harmonisation and prosperity of other nations. It is obvious that competing parties would not gain any substantial benefit, as it is inevitable that they remain dependent on one another for the long term,” he said.

On geo-political perception, Samdech Tea Banh said Cambodia does not want to see either China or the U.S entering decline.

“The decline of one or both would bring about many risks for the region and as a member of ASEAN, Cambodia wishes to see changes in the practices of rival nations from tit for tat, to working together in order to achieve shared benefit, stability, and prosperity for the region and the world. We also wish to see the easing of tension, and a return to normalcy in the South China Sea, as well as finding an acceptable solution to bring an end to the Russia-Ukraine war,” he said.

The establishment and proceeding of mechanisms and partnerships introduced by some major countries within the region is being judged from different perspectives. It would be a perfect scenario, if these mechanisms or partnerships serve the purpose of encouraging peace, stability, and prosperity for the region.

Samdech Tea Banh said Cambodia needs to weight between transparency and each country’s interests. Cambodia has faced the issues of Ream Naval Base. Certainly, Cambodia would provide transparency of our activities to avoid misunderstanding. In relation to this point, Cambodia has clearly reaffirmed that we respect our laws and our constitution. Meanwhile, everyone should understand the requirements of each country such as the need for military modernisation, to serve its own interests as well as to be able to participate in promoting the peace and stability of the region.

For the situation in Myanmar, he underlined, it is a concern that greatly affects ASEAN’s credibility, as well as ASEAN centrality.

“In my perspective, the role of ASEAN is very important for the settlement, but success is still not guaranteed, if there is no true commitment from Myanmar themselves. Finding trust among relevant parties is the key to solving this issue. In Cambodia’s experience, the Win-Win Policy offered concession, value, and trust towards one another, which acted as a strong foundation for sustainable peace, harmonisation, and prosperity. This is another model that is derived from the inevitable combination of political will, national unity and the pure heartedness of external support, based on the spirit of shared benefits,” he said.

While there are still internal conflicts and civil wars occurring, especially in Africa, causing tremendous humanitarian crisis, peacekeepers are indeed a well-needed element. Acknowledging this, Cambodia is strongly committed to enhancing our capabilities and participation in peacekeeping operation under the United Nation’s framework, in order to help and build harmonisation for those in suffering. Notably last year, Cambodia initiated a concept paper to enhance ASEAN women’s participation in overseas peacekeeping operations.

Concerning the issue of climate change, Samdech Tea Banh said without a doubt, destruction of our ecosystem and pollution occurs all around the world. However, industrialised countries remain as major contributors to climate.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse