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ASEAN defence officials meet to discuss regional challenges

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The ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG) at the meeting in Phnom Penh on Monday. NATIONAL DEFENCE MINISTRY

ASEAN defence officials meet to discuss regional challenges

The Kingdom is committed to continuing cooperation with other ASEAN member states and partners to maintain the continued success of the bloc, said a senior Cambodian national defence official as ASEAN counterparts meet in Phnom Penh to discuss regional security challenges.

The statement was made at a meeting of the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG) on February 7 in the presence of working group chairmen from the 10 member states.

Lay Chenda – deputy director-general of Politics and Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of National Defense and chairman of the ADSOM WG of Cambodia – praised Brunei for its success in organising the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and associated conferences in 2021, according to the ministry’s press release dated February 7.

“Based on the achievements our ADMM chair has made, Cambodia will continue to cooperate with other member states and all partners to achieve ASEAN aspirations for peace, security and prosperity,” he said.

Hosted at the ministry’s new administrative building, ADSOM WG is being held over two days – from February 7-8 – with the theme of “Solidarity for Harmonious Security.”

Chenda expressed gratitude that Cambodia was able to host the ADSOM WG after the absence of in-person meetings for nearly two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He considered the presence of the ASEAN senior defense officials an expression of strong support for Cambodia as the host of ADMM meetings in 2022, and testament to the eagerness of member states to strengthen ASEAN defence cooperation for the common good.

The defence officials discussed initiatives for consideration and approval by ASEAN defence ministers at the ADMM in June, but, given the short amount of time for discussion, “deliberate discussions are needed to broaden these initiatives and reflect the actual need for practical cooperation to address current and future challenges,” Chenda said.

At the meeting, Cambodia and Singapore drafted a common ASEAN vision on the role of member states in preventing Covid-19 and supporting post-pandemic recovery.

Titled “Phnom Penh Outlook”, the document will be valuable for ASEAN defence institutions in their efforts to address pandemic challenges and recovery in the region, Chenda said.

Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, told The Post on February 7 that Cambodia’s role as ASEAN chair means it plays a pivotal role in promoting collaboration among all member states in multiple areas including peace and security.

“Cambodia has been active in promoting multilateralism and it should continue to work collaboratively with countries in the region to preserve and enhance regional and global peace,” he said.

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