Official touts ASEM13 agenda

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Club of Cambodian Journalists holds a virtual meeting on organising the 13th ASEM Summit on Thursday. CCJ

A senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation official views Cambodia’s upcoming chairmanship of the 13th Asia-Europe summit (ASEM13) as an opportunity to showcase the peaceful social order and prevailing political stability of the nation to demonstrate that the Kingdom is on the right track for continued development progress.

Cambodia will host the ASEM13 via video conference under the theme Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth for two days from November 25-26 following two prior postponements in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

ASEM13 has 51 nations participating – 30 in Europe and 21 in Asia – along with the EU and the ASEAN Secretariat as institutional partners.

Ministry secretary of state Luy David said Cambodia’s chairmanship will provide it with important opportunities for expansion of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy globally.

David made the remarks during a virtual press forum – sponsored by the Club of Cambodian Journalists – on the organisation of the ASEM13 on September 16.

“The hosting of ASEM13 is an opportunity for Cambodia to raise its profile on the international stage by participating in the challenges facing the world,” David said.

He said Cambodia already previously coordinated with the 53 partner countries and institutions to issue a statement signed by all of the foreign ministers involved regarding the Covid-19 epidemic.

He said this statement then became the official position adopted by the UN General Assembly last year, adding that it was a big win for Cambodia in terms of the nation demonstrating its credibility as a responsible and productive participant in international diplomatic initiatives.

“There is also an opportunity for Cambodia to strengthen our bilateral cooperation with all ASEM member states and the participation of senior leaders from Asia and Europe – including France and Germany, the EU, Japan, South Korea and Russia – will help show the world that Cambodia is politically stable, completely peaceful and on the right track to develop further in the future,” he explained.

David said it is also an opportunity for Cambodia to promote Khmer civilisation and culture to the world, attract foreign investment and bring an increased number of post-pandemic tourists to the country.

The Kingdom has prepared three documents to be adopted at the ASEM13 – the Phnom Penh statement on socio-economic recovery after Covid-19, the ASEM13 chair statement and the ASEM13 statement on connectivity.

He said the Phnom Penh statement was authored by Cambodia’s senior leadership and was aimed at confirming the broader Asia-Europe leadership’s commitment to assist the developing world with socio-economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.

“If the statement is adopted we can count that as a positive achievement by Cambodia, because the ideas are ours. The previous ASEM meetings generally had only the ASEM chair’s statement adopted. However, for this ASEM13 meeting we’re going to push for all three documents adoption,” he said.