Cambodian Top Diplomat Emphasises ASEAN’s Strength

Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Prak Sokhonn this morning highlighted the strength of ASEAN allowing the bloc to overcome a myriad of challenges, big and small, over the past decades.

“The strength of ASEAN lies in our capability to leverage on our diversity as a force, an advantage to produce remarkable achievements over the years. We have embraced a rules-based approach undergirded by our ASEAN Charter which upholds the principles of consultation and consensus-building, non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Amidst some glitches here and there along the way, our region continues to enjoy peace, security, stability and development,” said H.E. Prak Sokhonn in his message at the ASEAN Day celebration in Phnom Penh on Aug. 8.

The Cambodian top diplomat added that the other strength of ASEAN is its peoples. “At the heart of every initiative, project, or programme we seek to improve and advance the well-being of our peoples through a full regional integration. Our vibrant economies that are highly competitive and integrated are the sources of our growth. Our ASEAN Community is truly people-oriented, people-centred and we aspire to leave no one behind,” he explained.

“Rapid changes in the global geopolitical landscape and the resulting uncertainties over the recent years have presented new and complex challenges for ASEAN. However, our efforts to act and respond as one family to address challenges together have enabled us to develop effective and appropriate responses to these difficult issues on the principles of equality, mutual respect, mutual interest. This dynamic has allowed us to further strengthen ASEAN Centrality and elevate our stature when engaging with our Dialogue Partners and other external friends. In the face of any obstacle, ASEAN has, without fail, managed to show our resilience and adaptiveness by tackling them with our own unique and effective approach, the ASEAN Way,” he said.
H.E. Prak Sokhonn also recalled the success of Cambodia in assuming the ASEAN Chairmanship last year despite so many “hot stones”, and expressed his optimism that under Indonesia Chairmanship and its theme “Epicentrum of Global Growth” this year, ASEAN will continue to matter as we move forward to implement our ASEAN Community building process, including speeding up the delivery of our Community Blueprints, strengthening ASEAN’s capacity and institutional effectiveness, and formulating our Post-2025 Vision that ensures ASEAN becomes a future-ready, future-proof Community.

He also reiterated the imperative of maintaining ASEAN Centrality and Unity. Its core principle of consensus must be adhered to, regardless of the vagaries of circumstances.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on Aug. 8, 1967. It consists of ten members, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Last year, it agreed in principle to admit Timor-Leste as the bloc’s 11th member.