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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Conference on Cambodia’s 2022 ASEAN Chairmanship

PHNOM PENH: A press conference on Cambodia’s priorities for the 2022 ASEAN Chairmanship was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday, where the head of the Cambodian diplomatic corps announced in front of foreign diplomats that the Royal Government will seek to strengthen ASEAN’s centrality to help resolve emerging geopolitical and strategic conflicts in order to maintain and promote peace, security and prosperity.

Speaking at the conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prak Sokhon, stated that Cambodia will focus on strengthening multilateralism. He said, "We aim to promote mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefit. Mutual understanding in accordance with the principles and objectives set out in the UN Charter, the ASEAN Charter, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and ASEAN Indo-Pacific Perspectives (AOIP).”

It was mentioned that the development of the ASEAN Community's post-2025 vision and the achievement of sustainable development would also be another key focus at the next ASEAN conference. In 2022, Cambodia will co-chair the High-Level Working Group Meeting to formulate elements of this vision with Malaysia.

Another stated priority for the meeting will be to promote regional contribution to world peace, in which Cambodia will work to maintain the positive momentum of ASEAN's active contribution to UN Peacekeeping Operations and the inclusion of the Women Peace and Security agenda in the ASEAN framework. The press conference also confirmed that Cambodia will seek to further enhance ASEAN visibility through the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) to address the humanitarian aspects of mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) issues within and outside the region.

Regarding Timor-Leste's membership in ASEAN, Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhon recalled the commitment of Prime Hun Sen stated at the 39th ASEAN Summit on October 26, 2021, to expedite the country’s membership. He said, "We hope that the necessary process can be completed soon to integrate East Timor into the ASEAN family."

The Deputy Prime Minister continued that Cambodia sees the benefits of strengthening and expanding partnerships with external partners to maintain peace and stability in the region and enhance ASEAN community building efforts. He said, "We would like to see the relationship between ASEAN and its external partners continue to grow on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit. ASEAN welcomed the United Kingdom as the 11th dialogue partner in August. ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Australia relations are beginning a new chapter with the recently announced Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We also look forward to a fruitful year of cooperation in this context. Cambodia is also the facilitator for ASEAN-Russia relations from this year to 2024."

The Turkish Embassy in Cambodia also expressed at the press conference that the government of Turkey intends to ask Cambodia for help to become an ASEAN dialogue partner. Responding to a question from a Turkish Embassy representative, Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhon, expressed hope that what Turkey wanted would be possible in the future, but explained that they will have to wait for a consensus to be made on the matter first.

In addition, it was also stated that in 2022 Cambodia will act to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

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