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ASEAN Chair: ASEAN Remains a Grouping of 10

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Chair of ASEAN this year, has reiterated the ASEAN 10, despite disappointment with the current situation in Myanmar.

“ASEAN is a grouping of 10 countries and not less. And for that, we need a collective will,” he underlined in his opening remarks of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings held here this morning.

ASEAN needs to exert its utmost care to ensure that its unity remains strong and its centrality is respected, that its Community become more integrated, and its external relations continue to be reinforced, the Premier added.

This year, he said, Cambodia’s Chairmanship theme “ASEAN A.C.T: Addressing Challenges Together” is in fact a response to all these challenges, necessitating that we pool our efforts and combine our sense of “Togetherness” to tackle them in the most effective way possible.

“Cambodia emphasises our stance in ‘unity for cooperation’ and not in ‘unity for confrontation’. We strive to focus on issues that bind us rather than those that divide us. We must prioritise peace above all else,” he added.

For the last five and a half decades of co-existence, ASEAN has delivered tangible achievements, based on the principles of consensus and non-interference which form the core of our ASEAN Way, Samdech Techo Hun Sen said, continuing that in a region so rich in cultural, economic and political diversity, ASEAN has managed, against all odds, to realise the ultimate goal of “unity in diversities”.

“For this year, we have achieved quite a bit. Starting with the health crisis issue, we have indeed emerged relatively better from the COVID-19 pandemic. Trade and investment wise, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has entered into force. Another milestone is the 20th year anniversary of the DOC, which is an important document in managing relations between all parties concerned in the South China Sea,” he said.

ASEAN was established on Aug. 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are the ten members of ASEAN.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press