Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Myanmar conflict may take 5 more years to resolve: PM

Myanmar conflict may take 5 more years to resolve: PM

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 12 meeting with over 2,000 members of the Cambodian diaspora in Europe who came to see him in Brussels, Belgium. SPM

Myanmar conflict may take 5 more years to resolve: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his doubts that the Myanmar crisis would be resolved any time soon and ruled out a third trip there by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn in his capacity as the ASEAN chair’s special envoy.

He made the remarks on December 12 while meeting with over 2,000 members of the Cambodian diaspora in Europe who came to see him in Brussels, Belgium, where he is slated to co-chair the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit. The December 14 event marks the 45 anniversary of ASEAN-EU Dialogue Partnership.

“I predict that Myanmar takes at least five more years to sort out. If anyone thinks they have a good solution to that problem, they should go try solving it. I’m almost done with my term so the ASEAN chair’s special envoy isn’t going back to Myanmar,” he said.

He added that when Cambodia chaired ASEAN this year, it was already a very complicated period, but at that same time there were also many things Cambodia had achieved which demonstrated its confidence, capacity and responsibility as the chair of ASEAN.

“When we went to the ASEAN-US summit, I addressed the leaders of ASEAN and the president of the US. I said that the ASEAN chair this year was like a hot potato or a hot stone,” he said. “But I laughed a bit and said that pretty soon I will toss this hot stone over to the president of Indonesia.”

Hun Sen said that unlike the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the disagreements over the South China Sea were not nearly as severe, because there are ongoing negotiations working towards establishing the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC).

One of the items on Hun Sen’s agenda while in Europe is attending an international conference in support of the Ukrainian people. Earlier this year at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Ukraine signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), raising the total number of signatories to 50 countries.

On the Myanmar crisis, Hun Sen told outgoing Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Mikami Masahiro on December 8 that Cambodia had strived to help the country return to normalcy, but now it would be Indonesia’s turn to take the lead on the issue in 2023.

In November, Sokhonn released a statement supporting the mass release of prisoners by Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), saying it was an important move and the right thing to do to create an atmosphere conducive for dialogue among the conflicting parties. Around that time, the special envoy announced that he would make a third trip to Myanmar to renew efforts to help the country return to the path of democracy, but now that plan has apparently been scrapped.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, said the Myanmar issue remains very complicated and involves many factors and interference by major powers from outside.

He added that despite Hun Sen and Sokhonn having made serious efforts to try and mediate the Myanmar situation in the capacity of Cambodia as chair of ASEAN, the SAC seemed to have ignored their commitments to peace talks and often undertook provocative actions such as executions or attacks on civilians.

“Cambodia will still continue to work with ASEAN under the troika mechanisms to alleviate the Myanmar situation in support of Indonesia as the new chair of ASEAN. Cambodia can also continue to call for peace and help build confidence among all relevant parties to negotiate to end the political crisis and hold a democratic election,” he said.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former

  • After three deferrals, Capital Gains Tax to take effect Jan 1, 2024

    The General Department of Taxation (GDT) will implement the Capital Gains Tax starting January 1, 2024 to after being deferred three times as industrial players warn that the implementation might have some negative impact on the property market growth, which is down due to the economic downturn.