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OPINION: Setting the Agenda for Cambodia’s Peace Efforts for Myanmar

Cambodia again is in the spotlight of international media attention. A lot has been written about Cambodia’s approach towards Myanmar. Unfortunately, several media outlets and analysts tend to build an agenda that Cambodia is the spoiler of ASEAN. That invites the question relating to the ethic of journalism: which news stories are based on reality of the moment and which news stories are driven by political agenda-setting.

Most foreign analysts and commentators see Cambodia from their worldview, premised on prejudice. And they tend to reinforce each other’s standpoints without consulting local stakeholders. It needs to note that the ethic of journalism is to promote public interest. Journalists should perform as faithful, independent watchdogs.

Hun Sen’s high-profile visit to Myanmar on January 7-8 was a critical ice-breaking moment in ASEAN’s engagement with Myanmar- this is the fact. Cambodia neither has hidden geopolitical nor economic interests. It does not have any ambition to impose its views on Myanmar but just share its experiences with Myanmar regarding peace-making and peacebuilding process.

Regardless of such good faith, Cambodia has come under fire. It is an uphill battle for Cambodia to promote its legitimate narrative about its role in Myanmar crisis because of its limited resources.

Here are the facts. First, Cambodia has suffered from the prolonged civil war for almost three decades and does not wish to see any country go through such pain and suffering. Cambodia is willing to help the people of Myanmar live in peace.

Second, as the rotating Chair of ASEAN, Cambodia is obliged to address issues facing the region. Myanmar crisis is on top of the agenda. If it chooses to play low and not to act, Cambodia would be blamed for not being a responsible Chair. Hence better act than do nothing. Helping Myanmar means helping ASEAN.

Read more: https://www.akp.gov.kh/post/detail/246228

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