ASEAN senior officials are committed to fostering cooperation that contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world. The ASEAN senior officials met for August 1 talks in Phnom Penh to outline their main agenda ahead of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), scheduled for August 3.

Chaired by Eat Sophea, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the ASEAN senior officials’ meeting was also attended by the secretary of ASEAN.

The senior foreign officials of these countries discussed enhancing communication and strategic partnerships.

As of August 1, the 55th AMM and related meetings had entered their third day. They are scheduled to conclude on August 5.

Led by senior official Saurabh Kumar, a delegation from India arrived in Phnom Penh on August 1 to attend the meetings.

Dato Lim Jock Hoi, secretary-general of ASEAN and Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of East Timor and their delegates arrived on the same day.

Prior to the meetings, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and his Brunei counterpart Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof reiterated their commitment to the cause of peace, stability and sustainable development both in the region and in the wider world.

Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, said that ASEAN must adopt a concrete stance in response to the conflict in Ukraine, to counter a superpower violating a weaker country.

“ASEAN must be cautious. I also think the ASEAN nations should look more closely at the issues in the region. If we want peace, stability and development, we need to examine the lack of democracy and human rights in Myanmar, as it affects the whole of ASEAN,” he said.

The Mekong-Ganga Senior Officials Meeting was underway on August 1 within the framework of the 55th AMM. It focused on cooperation between India and the Mekong countries – Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

TVK news said the meeting was held to examine the progress of cooperation and set the future direction of Mekong-Ganga cooperation, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing crises in the world.

It added that senior foreign officials from India and Lao were given the role of co-chairing the meeting so attendees could exchange their views on issues of interest to the regional and international levels.

Foreign ministry secretary of state Kung Phoak said at an August 1 press conference that due to illness, Philippines foreign secretary Enrique Manalo could not attend the AMM, but his senior officials will attend on his behalf. The ambassador of North Korea will also attend.

He added that ASEAN did not want to favour any one party over another, as it is a forum that aims to foster cooperation rather than conflict.

“We maintain this stance and urge all of our partners – especially the superpowers – to cooperate with ASEAN to resolve problems, both inside and outside the region,” he added.