Source: Xinhua | 2021-10-29 | Editor:Lexi
Cambodia on Thursday took up the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2022, vowing to enhance the bloc's centrality, unity and development in all fields.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen received the ASEAN chairmanship hammer from Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, chair of ASEAN for 2021, at the end of the 38th and 39th summits held via video conference.
This is the third time Cambodia leads ASEAN since it became a full-fledged member of the 10-country bloc in 1999. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Speaking at the handover ceremony of the ASEAN chairmanship, Hun Sen said he was proud that Cambodia took on the ASEAN chairmanship for 2022.
"As the chair of ASEAN in 2022, Cambodia will steer ASEAN's collective efforts to accomplish our important tasks, especially expediting the building process of an equitable, strong, and inclusive ASEAN Community, which are in line with core spirit of ASEAN: One Vision, One Identity and One Community," he said.
For political and security area, Hun Sen said Cambodia will focus on strengthening ASEAN centrality and unity. Also, ASEAN must be resilient and strong against the pressure and influence stemming from rising geo-political competition, transnational crime, terrorism, climate change and infectious diseases, etc. to ensure its way forward in peace, security, and prosperity, he said.
On the economic front, Cambodia will promote effective implementation of all initiatives and measures agreed as well as leverage trade agreements to the maximum so as to expedite the recovery of economic growth in the post-COVID-19 period.
Hun Sen added that the kingdom will do its best to ensure that ASEAN remains an attractive and dynamic hub for trade and investment by enhancing both physical and digital connectivity, strengthening the capacity of micro, small and medium sized enterprises and promoting the entrepreneurship amongst women and youth.
On the socio-cultural side, he said Cambodia will strengthen the development of human resources to respond to the needs on the ground for community building, promote the participation of women and youth in building and maintaining peace, and develop an inclusive social protection system.
Another key priority is strengthening people-to-people bonds to enhance the spirit of One ASEAN Identity, he said.
"By and large, Cambodia will continue to mobilize support and cooperation to achieve the goal of building the three ASEAN communities, in line with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025," Hun Sen said.
"As the chair of ASEAN in 2022, Cambodia is committed to leading ASEAN under the theme "ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing Challenges Together" for harmony, peace, and prosperity in the whole region," he said.
Experts said 2022 will be a challenging year for ASEAN as the bloc is facing key challenges such as post-pandemic socio-economic recovery, unfolding political crisis in Myanmar, geopolitical rivalries, QUAD, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among the United States, Japan, Australia and India, and AUKUS, the military pact among the U.S., Britain and Australia, among others.
"To address these issues, ASEAN needs to advance and deepen regional integration and connectivity, and interdependence is one of the key foundations of peace and prosperity," Chheang Vannarith, president of the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, told Xinhua.
Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said to deal with these challenges, Cambodia should carry out silent diplomacy and consultation to find common ground for regional cooperation among countries in the region.
"The best choice is to push the agendas that bind ASEAN, rather than the issues that divide ASEAN," he told Xinhua. "It's crucial to maintain the unity, solidarity and neutrality of ASEAN."
Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said QUAD and AUKUS have the potential to become a major security threat to ASEAN and the whole Asian region.
"These defense alliances have the potential to trigger arms race, to destabilize peace, to undermine economic development, and to create war-like-phobia in the region," he told Xinhua.
Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute, said on regional security issues, Cambodia should focus more on working more closely with other ASEAN member states in advocating the constructive measurement concerning ASEAN security and stability.
"On the economic side, Cambodia can use this opportunity to promote regional digitalization and fintech, enhance regional human resources development and innovation, safeguard the collective actions to fight against COVID-19 and support more development on regional infrastructure," he said.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that China and Singapore agreed to deepen dialogue and exchanges, and focus on coordination and...
Laos hopes to continuously strengthen the traditional Laos-China friendship based on their shared ideal of socialism, Thongloun Sisoulith, general secretary o...
Laos has arranged for the administering of China's COVID-19 vaccines nationwide, which have fully proved their safety and efficacy, Lao People's Revolutionary P...
Workers collect swab samples from young men for COVID-19 tests in Jakarta, Indonesia
Vietnam exported nearly 6.6 billion U.S. dollars of wood and wood products in the first five months of this year, surging 61.3 percent year on year, according t...
The Sri Lankan government Wednesday said that arrival of all incoming passengers into the island country would be suspended from May 21 midnight to May 31.
The first batch of anti-pandemic materials donated by the Red Cross Society of China to Nepal begins to be shipped to its capital Kathmandu.
The construction of all 67 communication towers along the China-Laos railway has been completed, marking a major progress in the project.
The United Nations is helping India in its uphill battle against COVID-19, said a UN spokesman on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka and China vowed here Wednesday to enhance pragmatic cooperation in all sectors between the two countries including the military.
Pelosi just sets fire regardless of fallout