Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Manet (left) speaks with a bodyguard as he attends a parliamentary meeting at the National Assembly building in Phnom Penh on August 22, 2023. (AFP/Thang Chinn Sothy)
Prime Minister Hun Manet is slated to lead a delegation to the 43rd ASEAN Summit this week in Jakarta, in his first international meeting in his new role. The assembly is scheduled to convene from September 4-7.
The invitation to the gathering was extended by Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who holds the position of ASEAN chair for the current year.
According to a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manet will be accompanied by Cambodia’s deputy prime ministers, ministers, prominent government officials, and notable business figures. This collective presence serves to underscore the importance of the regional assembly.
The central theme of the summit, “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, will revolve around advancing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. The framework aims to amplify ASEAN’s impact by fortifying its institutional effectiveness, with the ultimate objective of advocating for the welfare of its populace on the global stage.
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Jean-François Tain, a geopolitical expert and attaché to the prime minister, said Manet will depart for the summit and other meetings, including the East Asia Forum, on September 4.
“Cambodia, as a nation, should be proud of this, because Manet has committed to defending the Kingdom’s interests in front of the other 9 ASEAN leaders,” he added.
The ASEAN leadership will gather with many high-profile issues scheduled to be brought to the table. These include the crisis in Myanmar and contests for influence among global and regional superpowers in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as other global issues.
Manet was bestowed with the honorific “Samdech” by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, through a September 2 royal decree. His full title is now “Samdech Moha Bovorthipadi Hun Manet”.
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Puy Kea, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ), highlighted Manet’s plan to meet with representatives from 17 ASEAN countries and the bloc’s partners, despite being one of the youngest leaders in attendance. The summit offers Manet an opportunity to attract media attention and foster relationships with fellow leaders.
Kea suggested that Manet could leverage the political legacy of his predecessor, Hun Sen, to address the Myanmar crisis at the ASEAN forum, especially as Laos is poised to lead ASEAN in 2024.
Cambodia’s past interactions with Myanmar’s military leaders could inform these efforts. Cambodia aims to employ the ASEAN forum to urge the parties in conflict in Myanmar to adhere to the five-point consensus reached by ASEAN and facilitate their return to the negotiating table.
Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted the urgency of achieving a diplomatic breakthrough and persuading Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to accept the consensus.
Phea highlighted the importance of working with influential countries like China, Russia and India. The government’s cooperation with these nations is pivotal to the success of diplomatic efforts.
The Phnom Penh Post
● Mon, September 4, 2023
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