Hun Sen to attend Asean-US summit, meet compatriots

As Asean chair, he also reiterated Cambodia’s “strong desire” to explore more opportunities to expand cooperation on all possible fronts.

Ry Sochan

Ry Sochan

The Phnom Penh Post


A combination photo of Prime Minister Hun Sen and US President Joe Biden. spm, Joe biden via facebook

April 29, 2022

PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen is set for the ASEAN-US Special Summit, which has been confirmed for May 12-13, in the US, where he also plans to meet nearly 1,000 compatriots.

In a letter responding to the invitation from US president Joe Biden, Hun Sen said he was “pleased” to accept it.

“I believe that the reaffirmation of your commitment to further strengthen relations between the US and ASEAN, as we commemorate the 45th Anniversary of ASEAN-US dialogue relations, will be a stepping stone toward elevating our partnerships to new heights.

“Cambodia is strongly supportive of elevating ASEAN-US relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” he said, referring to the preferential status recently accorded to Japan.

Hun Sen said that as ASEAN chair, he wished to reiterate Cambodia’s “strong desire” to explore more opportunities to expand ASEAN-US cooperation on all possible fronts.

“I am also confident that the Special Summit will serve as an excellent opportunity for us to discuss [opportunities of] further enhancing our cooperation, and exchange views on issues of common concern and interest to both ASEAN and the US,” he said.

In an invitation letter dated April 20, Biden expressed his gratitude to ASEAN and its member states for more than four decades of “enduring partnership”.

He said that in the face of unprecedented challenges and new opportunities, the US and ASEAN have joined together to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and strengthen regional health systems, increase climate ambition and promote supply chain resilience.

Both sides had also accelerated innovation and deepened ties between their combined one billion people, he said, adding that all these factors have “advanced a shared vision for a free and open region” as outlined in both the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and the US Indo-Pacific Strategy.

“At the summit, we will commemorate 45 years of enduring partnership and raise our collective ambition for a new age of US-ASEAN relations. I look forward to welcoming you and the other ASEAN leaders to the White House,” Biden said.

Speaking while meeting with Cambodian athletes preparing for the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Vietnam, Hun Sen revealed that he will be meeting with around 1,000 Cambodians in the US on May 11, a day before the summit. He will return to Cambodia on May 15.

On May 20, he will travel to Switzerland where he will meet with Cambodians living there the next day.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said Hun Sen had made a “frank” statement regarding the ASEAN-US relations. He said the letters show both sides expressing commitment to boosting their partnership and cooperation.

“We see that the US is mobilising support from ASEAN on the issue of Ukraine. ASEAN itself is also building its position while the superpowers [US and Russia] are at odds, leading to ASEAN’s bargaining power and influence increasing,” he said.

He added that the summit will reinvigorate and promote the ASEAN-US partnership which, he said, seemed to have been ignored by the Trump administration as reflected by the former president’s absence from the meetings during his term in office.

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