Prime Minister Hun Sen requested that the ASEAN National Police (ASEANAPOL) continue their cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism, with the ultimate goal of making the ASEAN region free of terrorism.

Hun Sen made the remarks on March 3 while meeting with an ASEANAPOL delegation who were visiting Phnom Penh to attend the 40th ASEANAPOL conference. According his Facebook post after the meeting, the premier appreciated the association’s cooperation in terrorism prevention.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen encouraged the national police of all ASEAN nations to keep working together, especially in the realm of anti-terror,” said the post.

He also requested that ASEANAPOL members share their experience and any intelligence they gathered and that the delegates play the role of ambassadors to strengthen cooperation and trade in the bloc.

According to the post, the delegates expressed their ambition that ASEAN become a harmonised region, in the interests of stability and peace.

In October last year, Hun Sen said that Cambodia, as the ASEAN chair in 2022, would focus on strengthening the bloc’s centrality and solidarity – both internally and with outside partners – based on the principles stated in the ASEAN Charter and friendship treaties.

He said ASEAN needed resilience to counter the pressure from geopolitical rivals, transnational crimes, terrorism, climate change and the pandemic. He looked forward to guiding it towards peace, security and prosperity.

Lim Meng Hour, deputy director of the Asian Vision Institute’s (AVI) Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, said Hun Sen intended to promote regional security and stability because these two factors are the basic principles of ASEAN.

“Hun Sen’s request to the ASEANAPOL delegates was the right thing for the ASEAN chair to call for, in terms of promoting security in the region,” he said.