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Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn Says ASEAN 2022 Faces Unprecedented Mixed Pressure

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn has said that ASEAN faces unprecedented pressure in 2022, referring to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, intense competition between world powers and deepening regional crises.

Speaking at a working meeting with the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Propaganda and Information on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhon said that since Cambodia became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations almost 23 years ago, ASEAN faces an unprecedented amount of mixed pressure at a time when Cambodia has assumed the Chairmanship.

He added that this has affected efforts to build the ASEAN Community, as well as efforts to integrate and expand external partners. He said "As chair of ASEAN in 2022, we have chosen the theme 'ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing Challenges Together'. The main idea is to demonstrate the importance of the spirit of ASEAN on behalf of the 10-nation family, united in a strong spirit and working together to achieve common goals. With the word "together”, we want to emphasize the ASEAN middle ground, unity and solidarity in addressing regional challenges and increasing ASEAN's contribution to peace, stability, security and sustainable development in the region and the world.”

Minister Prak Sokhonn noted the dangerous situation of world politics in Cambodia at the moment, but said that Cambodia has maintained its stability in foreign policy, and achieving five important tasks: territorial defense, policy implementation, the use of flexible foreign policy in response to geopolitical pressures, more active participation in the cause of world peace and stability, and the implementation of diplomatic, economic and cultural practices and internal reforms to support and enhance the effectiveness of diplomatic work.

Cambodia assumed the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN on 1 January 2022, the country’s third time to lead the region with economic potential and strength in Asia. Addressing the ASEAN Chairmanship on 28 October 2021, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that Cambodia will lead the joint efforts of ASEAN to achieve more important achievements with focus on strengthening ASEAN centrality and unity, both within regional mechanisms and with external partners, based on ASEAN paths and principles.

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