The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are likely to be discussed as well.

In his opening remark, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn noted that the next three days would present an opportunity for participants to deliberate on key issues pertaining to the progress made in line with the ASEAN Community-building efforts, the way forward to recover strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as cooperation and partnerships with external partners.

The AMM would also touch on regional and international issues, especially with regards to the pressing security challenges that risk destabilising regional peace and stability, assuming those issues are not handled properly.

“I hope that our open and constructive exchanges will enable us to chart the course for future cooperation in order to attain the priorities and deliverables set out in Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship,” he said.

In what seems like a coincidence with the AMM, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Pelosi landed on the night of August 2 in Taiwan, much to China’s dismay.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference, Cambodia’s foreign ministry secretary of state Kung Phoak said the Taiwan issue could also be discussed by ASEAN foreign ministers as a means of calming the situation.

“I think ASEAN foreign ministers will take advantage of the opportunity to discuss, find a common ground for ASEAN to contribute to its facilitation and express our comments to ensure that the situation in Taiwan is secure and stable while preventing it from escalating into a conflict among relevant stakeholders,” he was quoted as saying by local media Fresh News.