Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ASEAN look to expedite E Timor entry

ASEAN look to expedite E Timor entry

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn meets with ASEAN secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi in a virtual video conference on Monday. FOREIGN MINISTRY

ASEAN look to expedite E Timor entry

ASEAN is launching a fact-finding mission to accelerate East Timor’s accession into the bloc, a task expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The decision was announced in a virtual meeting on February 14 between foreign minister Prak Sokhonn and ASEAN secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi.

In a statement published after the meeting, the ministers acknowledged the additional difficulty that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused in the indo-pacific nation’s decade-long application process to join ASEAN as its 11th member.

But they said the bloc is “determined” to complete the fact-finding mission of the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community in the first quarter of this year, “so that ASEAN member states can start to deliberate on the roadmap and timeline for [East Timor] to accede to ASEAN,” the statement said.

Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said the meeting demonstrates Cambodia’s activeness in pushing for East Timor to become an ASEAN member.

He said that, should East Timor membership be confirmed during Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year, it would help raise the profile of the Kingdom within the bloc as being a supportive new member.

“Cambodia is the latest member of ASEAN. Therefore, if [East Timor] becomes another member, it shows that Cambodia is working towards and putting in effort to achieve unity and inclusiveness in the region,” he said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign minister Prak Sokhonn meets with ASEAN secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi via video conference at the ministry on Monday. FOREIGN MINISTRY

Sokhonn and Lim also spoke at length about the political situation in Myanmar and its impact on ASEAN, according to the ministry.

The meeting included “heavy emphasis” on the importance of cessation of violence and building of trust and confidence in the beleaguered nation, “so that all the concerned parties can engage in an inclusive dialogue in order to achieve long lasting peace”, it said.

Sokhonn told Lim about plans for his first visit to Myanmar as its ASEAN special envoy, for which no date has been set. Lim offered that the ASEAN Secretariat was ready to support his visit as well as to provide aid in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the country.

Both sides also discussed the important role of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in the ASEAN community building process. In recent years, many countries had signed the peace treaty and have subsequently become dialogue, sector and development partners to ASEAN member states, they noted.

“Going forward, ASEAN will continue to strengthen its capacity and capability, so that it is equipped to contribute effectively to the rapid growth of its partners for mutual benefit,” the press statement said.


  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    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

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’