Addressing the opening ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen recalled the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s 55-year history and its beyond-expected achievements, making Southeast Asia a region of cooperation, development and trust.
He underscored the regional and global uncertainties caused by multidimensional impacts of COVID-19, tensions among major countries and crises in Myanmar and Ukraine. Non-traditional challenges, such as climate change, natural disasters, energy security and food security, have put ASEAN and the region at large through such an ordeal, according to the PM.
More than ever, ASEAN needs to unite, promote its centrality, and strive to build a cohesive, inclusive and cooperative community with the spirit of “Unity in Diversity,” Hun Sen urged.
With the motto “ASEAN: Addressing Challenges Together,” the bloc must show commitment to surmounting hardships together, particularly boosting post-pandemic recovery, implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and finalising a Code of Conduct in the East Sea/South China Sea (COC) that is effective and consistent with international laws, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said.
He called on ASEAN to strengthen coordination in responding to climate change and environmental degradation, consider the establishment of a ASEAN Green Deal, and bringing the RCEP into full play.
Shortly prior to the opening ceremony, Son and FMs of other ASEAN nations paid a courtesy call to PM Hun Sen.
He also had a meeting with Prak Sokhonn, Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, during which the officials discussed how the two sides can coordinate to successfully organise the event.
Talking on how to step up the long-standing friendship and partnership between the two countries, they agreed to further reinforce the ties by maintaining and increasing the exchange of high-level delegations and meetings, as well as comprehensive cooperation mechanisms. Vietnam and Cambodia are aiming to achieve more than 10 billion in two-way trade this year.
The two countries plan to host a variety of activities during the Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Year 2022 to mark the 55th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and beef up partnership in defence-security, agriculture, education and training, tourism and people-to-people exchange.