Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated his call for the support of multilateralism and dialogue to avoid armed conflicts and to ensure peace and stability in the region and across the globe.

The premier renewed his appeal while addressing the more than 120 countries participating in the “Voice of the South Summit”, which was held virtually.

“We all must push for multilateralism and a culture of dialogue for solving challenges in order to prevent a breakup of the economy into trade blocs, as well as to avoid military conflict which could eventually occur and to maintain global peace, security and stability,” he said.

Hun Sen said that currently there have been a series of negative trends in public health, society, economics and geopolitics. He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over and that the rivalry between the superpowers could affect world order and other multilateral mechanisms.

He said the world is also being impacted by controversial issues such as a trade war which could divide economies into trade blocs and increase protectionism; prolonged war in Ukraine; increasing inflation and public debt; division of the global supply chain and climate change, all of which have interrupted the efforts at post-pandemic economic recovery and the development of poorer countries.

“To respond to the aforementioned problems, our priority is to build a prosperous future by restoring and pushing for the smooth resumption of vital international economic activities and trade. This could be done through the acceleration of integration and supply chain connections, strengthening the trade system and multilateralism and accelerating digital industrialisation which has the potential for the emergence of new sectors,” he said.

Hun Sen urged deeper and more comprehensive cooperation among the countries in the southern hemisphere and developing countries within and outside the region, along with international entities. He said cooperation is necessary to carry out a win-win strategy and to achieve the maximum benefits of the latest socio-economic developments.

“As multi-pole trends and division into blocs becomes more defined, the respect for independence, sovereignty and right to self-determination in choosing a development path by any one country are what all developing nations must adhere to,” he said.

Hun Sen said Covid-19 has shown the necessity of building better health systems and promoting public health and social security support in order to be ready to face future challenges.

He also said that green development is an important factor, and that all nations must support sustainable socio-economic development. Green development should come through expanding cooperation on green infrastructure development, energy transactions and green technology, he added.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), said all UN member states have the duty to promote a culture of dialogue and solve problems through multilateral mechanisms.

He observed that Cambodia has actively participated in multilateralism in the region, particularly through ASEAN, to support regional and global peace and security.

“Protectionism and unilateralism have affected the global economy and security as well as causing a loss of trust among states. Cambodia, though a small country, has joined the international community to support post-pandemic development mechanisms and contributed to solutions to regional and global issues in an open and inclusive way,” he said.