Cambodia called on the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to mobilise its resources and push for a solution to the war in Ukraine. The Kingdom cited escalating tensions between the superpowers, an economic downturn and the cracking of the global supply chain as indicators that both Europe and Asia need to find ways to become more resilient in the future.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn said that despite the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022, there had been dramatic changes in the acute context of regional and global security, as well as the global economy.
In his March 1 message to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the ASEM, he said the factors have contributed to the weakening of multilateralism, undermining ASEM’s global efforts to address the problem of human existence in relation to climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
He declared that Cambodia attaches great importance to ASEM as a relevant multilateral dialogue forum. He reaffirmed Cambodia’s readiness to work closely with all members and stakeholders to achieve the noble goal of peace and prosperity as was set by the ASEM leadership, as well as re-energising the ASEM process.
“Over the past 27 years, ASEM has grown into an important forum with 53 member countries and institutions. It has driven peace and security missions, and promoted the connectivity and development of both continents,” he said.
“ASEM has served as a top platform for promoting dialogue to raise multilateralism based on the spirit of consensus, mutual benefit and respect in addressing inter-regional issues and global challenges,” he added.
Cambodia hosted and chaired the 13th ASEM Summit (ASEM13) in November 2021 via video conference under the theme “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth”, at the peak of the pandemic.
During the meeting, ASEM issued three documents: The statement of the President of ASEM13 on strengthening multilateralism for shared growth; the Phnom Penh Declaration on post-Covid-19 socio-economic recovery; and action plans for ASEM connectivity.
“These documents heralded a new chapter in ASEM cooperation on public health crises and further enhanced Asia-Europe connectivity by strengthening multilateralism for sustainable and inclusive economic recovery,” said Sokhonn.
Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, told The Post on March 1 that the war in Ukraine had wreaked havoc on the global economy and seriously undermined the rule of law.
The ambition of President Vladimir Putin to win and re-build the “Russian empire” has caused untold suffering to the people of Russia and Ukraine, while also having a serious effect on regional and global security,” Vannak said.
“As a small nation, Cambodia has little power with which to sway either of the combatants, but the Kingdom is certainly prepared to assist in negotiating a solution. Of course, this war will not end soon, but Cambodia’s strategic goal is to ensure political stability, security, and global supply chain resilience during the protracted war, which is in addition to already existing tensions and power struggles between China and the US. This is an ideal position for the Kingdom,” he added.