On Monday, Cambodia celebrated its 20th anniversary of membership in the Association of South East Asian Nations. To mark this historical milestone, Khmer Times talks to Chheang Vanarith, president of secretariat at the Asian Vision Institute, about the Kingdom’s journey within the regional intergovernmental organisation over the past two decades.
KT: As an expert on this topic, can you briefly describe Cambodia’s journey within Asean?
Mr Vanarith: Twenty years ago, on April 30, 1999, Cambodia officially became a member the Association of South East Asian Nations, becoming the last member following several negotiations. As a matter of fact, we should have become a member in 1997, like Myanmar and Laos, but it was delayed due to the existing internal conflicts. Despite their differences, the member states have forged a good relationship in working together to achieve common goals as a unified Asean family. That was a historic day, on which all 10 Southeast Asian nations were united. Over the past two decades, Cambodia has played an important role in fulfilling its obligations in accordance with its values, which do not favour a single political system, including the chairmanship of Asean Summit in 2002 and 2012.
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