JAKARTA: As the 43rd ASEAN Summit comes to a close today, Prime Minister Hun Manet has been inaugurated into the regional bloc with promises of continued cooperation from every country leader he meets. In addition to having met with the premiers of all 10 ASEAN countries plus Timor-Leste, the PM also attended related summits with leaders from China, India, South Korea and Japan.
On September 6, Prime Minister Hun Manet met with the absolute monarch of Brunei and the world’s longest-serving head of state, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muʿizzaddin Waddaulah. The two leaders agreed further cooperation on defense, security, education and training of human resources, agriculture, and cultural exchange. The sultan also extended an invitation to the prime minister for an official visit, which was graciously accepted.
That same day, he also met with Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, where the leaders discussed room for growth in trade, education, agriculture, and tourism. Cambodia pledged to continue its support for Timor-Leste becoming the 11th ASEAN member-state.
Meetings with leaders from the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Laos and more resulted in many promises of further cooperation in everything from agriculture to tourism to fighting cybercrime. In his first meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the summit, Prime Minister Hun Manet signed an agreement to export 250,000 tons of rice per year to Indonesia.
Expected to return to Cambodia this evening, the prime minister has less than a week before he heads off to China for the China-ASEAN Expo and the Belt and Road Initiative Summit. Upon his return, he is expected to meet with the President of South Korea’s National Assembly to discuss bilateral issues and cement their approval of his new administration, which is just over two weeks old.