Prime Minister Hun Sen arrived in Labuan Bajo on May 9 for the 42nd ASEAN Summit, hosted by the bloc’s rotating chair Indonesia under the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentre of Growth”.

The premier’s May 9 social media post detailed how ASEAN leaders will discuss approaches and means to maintain the momentum of building the ASEAN Community and push for the ASEAN Sustainable Development Agenda to achieve an inclusive, participative and cooperative community.

The May 10-11 summit also aims to accelerate the development of the ASEAN Community’s post-2025 vision to transform the bloc into a future-oriented community and a region of peace, stability, security, prosperity and resilience.

“The ASEAN leaders will also discuss regional and international issues of common concern and interest, including the implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus [5PC]on Myanmar and the decisions of the bloc’s leaders regarding the implementation of its perspective on the Indo-Pacific region,” the message added.

Sry Thamrong, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister who accompanied Hun Sen to the summit, told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport on May 9 that this would be the first ASEAN Summit to be attended by the leader of Timor-Leste, as the nation is in the process of becoming the 11th member of the bloc. The new prime ministers of Laos and Malaysia will also be attending for the first time.

“The summit will focus on the importance of ASEAN centrality at the core of growth,” he said.

“We know the summit will address the past achievements of ASEAN, as well as changing external situations in the region. There are many geopolitical competitions taking place, including conflicts in the South China Sea, Myanmar crisis and the Russia-Ukraine war, which are affecting the global economy,” he added.

ASEAN secretary-general Kao Kim Hourn attended the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Labuan Bajo on May 9, with the progress in the ASEAN community building process and new developments in the region, among others, on the agenda, according to the official ASEAN Twitter account.

“At the 26th ASEAN Political-Security Community [APSC] Council Meeting in Labuan Bajo, Sec Gen of ASEAN Kao Kim Hourn briefed attendees on the recent developments among sectoral bodies under the APSC pillar and the progress in the implementation of the APSC Blueprint,” said the tweet.

Kim Hourn also updated the 33rd ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) meeting on the significant progress in the work of ASEAN in the first quarter of this year, including the implementation of various initiatives tasked by ASEAN leaders.

Royal Academy of Cambodia secretary-general Yang Peou expressed hope that the ASEAN leaders will review the summit’s agenda and particularly the issues related to Myanmar. He said the issue, which began under Brunei’s chairmanship of ASEAN and continued through Cambodia’s 2022 chair, has worsened.

He noted that while the Kingdom was chair, Hun Sen had worked hard to find a solution, but had suffered criticism from some ASEAN leaders when he travelled to the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw, and during the visits of Cambodia’s ASEAN special envoy Prak Sokhonn.

“I hope that the ASEAN leaders will discuss this issue and push for the implementation of the 5PC. I think that Indonesia’s chairmanship may make it more difficult to find a solution than when the Kingdom held the chair. Cambodia was flexible when it came to dealing with Myanmar, whereas Indonesia has taken a stricter position. In my opinion, it will be difficult to find a way out for Myanmar,” he told The Post on May 9.

“As for other crises, I hope ASEAN leaders will also discuss them in detail, whether . . . the South China Sea dispute or the economic crisis fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine war,” he said.