(Phnom Penh): Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote on his official Facebook page that April 30 marks the 19th anniversary of Cambodia’s admission to ASEAN (30 April 1999 – 30 April 2018).
Cambodia was torn apart by internal conflicts, killing millions of innocent civilians and driving every aspect of the county to ruin from year 1975 to 1979, he recalled.
Since the reconciliation in Cambodia in 1998 under the win-win policy proposed and implemented by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the long-standing conflict was put to an end, providing opportunities for the people to build and develop the nation until present time.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia joined ASEAN on 30 April 1999. Today, ASEAN comprises of 10 member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, home to roughly around 640 million people.
ASEAN is now one of the largest trading blocs economies.
What motivated Cambodian leaders to apply for ASEAN membership?
1) ASEAN member states strictly adhere to non-interference policy. All members are entitled in full equality.
2) Admission shall be decided by consensus by the ASEAN as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.
3) ASEAN economic integration is a crucial factor. In 2000, ASEAN introduced a policy to narrow the economic disparity between old and new ASEAN member countries.
4) ASEAN has a number of dialogue partners and Cambodia’s admission to ASEAN is an opportunity to expand relations, friendship and cooperation with all the ASEAN countries and partners to bring more benefits to the country.
Currently, Cambodia is playing an important role in the ASEAN framework. Cambodia has three ministers responsible in ASEAN:
1) The Minister of Foreign Affairs shares responsibilities in Political-Security Community.
2) The Minister of Education shares responsibilities in Socio-Cultural Community.
3) The Minister of Commerce shares responsibilities in ASEAN Economic Community.
Cambodia has hosted the ASEAN Summit twice in 2002 and 2012, and expected to host the ASEAN Summit again in 2022.
After the entry of Cambodia into ASEAN, the association has brought immense benefits to the country in the areas of trade, economy and tourism.