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‘Challenges’ set for ASEAN chair

Cambodian diplomats and analysts have warned that the Kingdom will continue to face a series of serious challenges during its ASEAN chairmanship this year due to a number of escalating geopolitical situations that have already produced knock-on effects globally.

This year saw Cambodia take on the ASEAN chairmanship for the third time since its accession to the bloc in 1999, selecting “ASEAN ACT: Addressing Challenges Together” as the theme of its leadership.

Speaking at a workshop on “Cambodia’s Contribution to ASEAN Since its Inception in 1999” held on May 31 by the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn said the “current regional and international context necessitates the strengthening of shared commitment to ASEAN centrality, unity, and solidarity.

“It is furthermore crucial for ASEAN to consolidate its spirit of togetherness if we are to be effective in tackling our common, pressing challenges to ensure regional and global peace, security, and sustainable development,” the minister said.

In spite of the challenges, Sokhonn said, Cambodia will continue to draw on the ASEAN’s spirit of togetherness to consolidate efforts, internally within ASEAN as well as with ASEAN Partners, to achieve our goals of building a resilient ASEAN Community, in line with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

“I am confident that we can prove once again that we have the determination and capability to further strengthen and promote peace, stability, security, and prosperity in the region for the wellbeing of our peoples. That’s the true spirit of “let’s act together”,” he said, in a nod to Cambodia’s chosen theme for its chairmanship.

With seven months remaining as ASEAN chair, Sokhonn said Cambodia has been “motivated and inspired to work harder” to advance ASEAN community building in recognition of the bloc’s enduring spirit, as it celebrates its 55th anniversary this year.

He opined that Cambodia has contributed “robustly” to ASEAN’s efforts to maintain global peace through UN peacekeeping operations, and address the issue of landmines and explosive remnants of war, adding that the operationalisation of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre was such testimony to the Kingdom’s significant contributions.

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