The Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen called for unity on November 13, 2022, at the opening of the East Asia Summit addressing all members including Russia, China and the United States that the current global tensions have been impacting everyone in the world.
The Prime Minister, whose country holds the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that it was in the world’s common interest to cooperate to solve differences peacefully.
The comments came as regional tensions are currently high between the United States and China over Taiwan and Beijing’s growing regional expectations, and the Russia invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the global supply chains, causing the rise in energy and food prices far beyond in Europe.
The meeting is running parallel to the ASEAN group’s main summit. Hun Sen opened the meeting and without calling out any nation by name, he said that, “I hoped that leaders would embrace a spirit of togetherness in upholding open and inclusive multilateralism, pragmatism and mutual respect in addressing the existential and strategic challenges we all face.”
“Many current challenges and tensions have been hindering our past hard-earned efforts to promote sustainable development and causing greater hardship to people’s lives,” Mr. Hun Sen added.
The Participants in the sitting also included US President Joe Biden and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The statement comes a day before the highly anticipated meeting between Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Bali.
Telling leaders of the strategically vital union, Mr. Biden on Saturday promised that the U.S. would work with ASEAN and said that, “we’re going to build a better future that we all want to see” in the region where US’s rival China is also working to expand its control.He also promised to collaborate to build a region that is free and open, resilient and secure, and stable and prosperous.
Citing climate and health security among areas of collaboration, Biden said, “I look forward to continuing our work together with ASEAN and with each one of you to deepen peace and prosperity throughout the region to resolve challenges from the South China Sea to Myanmar and to find innovative solutions to shared challenges”.
Meanwhile, amid a “turbulent” global security situation, Premier of People’s republic of China, Li Keqiang told a meeting of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea that, “unilateralism and protectionism are surging, economic and financial risks are rising, and global development is confronted with unprecedented challenges.”
Li said that as a major economy in East Asia, the group needed to stay committed to promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and beyond to improve people’s wellbeing.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sergey Lavrov also took a part in meetings which included the leaders of New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Japan and others.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an international organization that has 10 countries as members in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Apart from the ASEAN states, the East Asia Summit also includes countries such as India, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, The United States and Russia.
India at East Asia Summit
Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar addressed the East Asia Summit in a closed session on November 13, 2022, the last day of his visit to Cambodia. Minister of External Affairs of India Mr. S Jaishankar, who is leading India in the 17th East Asia Summit and the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit is accompanying Mr. Dhankhar.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations which is also being celebrated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year. India and ASEAN countries vowed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership and increase cooperation against terrorism after Vice President addressed the 19th ASEAN-India Summit.
Mr. Dhankhar announced an additional contribution of $5 million to the ASEAN-India science and technology fund to strengthen cooperation in sectors of public health, smart agriculture, and renewable energy.
In a joint statement, ASEAN-India declared to increase the cooperation in the digital economy through a series of regional capacity-building activities in digital transformation, digital skills and innovation, digital trade as well as Hackathons.
India and ASEAN nations also acknowledged the maritime connectivity, deep civilization linkages, and cross-cultural exchanges between India and Southeast Asian countries which have grown stronger over the past 30 years, providing a strong foundation for ASEAN-India relations.