Your Excellency Najib Razak Chairman of the Meeting,
Your Majesty the Sultan, Excellencies ASEAN Leaders,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to congratulate H.E. Najib Razak on the assumption of chairmanship of this historic 27th ASEAN Summit and sincerely thank the Government and People of Malaysia for the warm hospitality extended to me and Cambodian delegation.
I would like to take this opportunity to join other ASEAN leaders in extending the heartfelt sympathies and condolences of the Government and People of Cambodia to the Government and People of France on the loss of lives from the terrorists’ inhumane murder of innocent civilians in Paris. Along with this, the Government and People of Cambodia strongly condemn this inhumane and unforgivable act.
May I now share with you my views on ASEAN’s progress to date and future direction as follows:
1- ASEAN Community 2015 and Beyond:
I am delighted to join other ASEAN leaders in signing the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of ASEAN Community in this historic 27th ASEAN Summit. In about one month from now, ASEAN will no longer stands as a forum of ten countries, but a proud and promising community. In this connection, I would like to warmly congratulate all ASEAN leaders and peoples on this marvelous achievement. From 2016 onward, ASEAN will become an influential community in the regional and global arena, which is the result of decades of our collective aspiration and tireless efforts.
Cambodia wishes to reaffirm its unquestionable support on ASEAN’s commitment to ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional and global architecture and the intensified effort to deepen ASEAN integration. In this sense, Cambodia fully supports Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together and calls on ASEAN Economic Community Council as well as other councils and ASEAN Secretariat to prepare strategies and work plans without delay to realize the vision of each pillar.
I am pleased with the fruitful implementation of the Roadmap for ASEAN Community, IAI Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan II as well as Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. However, we must accept that ASEAN is still facing a number of major challenges, which requires us to intensify and broaden our collective efforts to narrow the development gap between old and new member states, fully capitalize on the ASEAN integration and realize ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together.
In this connection, I think we need to further enhance ASEAN connectivity, which is the key factor for ensuring a competitive and robust ASEAN Economic Community. Therefore, we should encourage all stakeholders to participate in the preparation of the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity 2025. In addition, since the implementation of this connectivity plan intertwines with the tree pillars, I suggest participation from all three pillars in implementing this Master Plan and each member state assigns a focal person in each pillar. We should also call on and encourage ASEAN dialogue partners to participate in the implementation of this Master Plan.
In spite of significant progress to date, I urge all stakeholders to intensify effort to implement the remaining components or activities of the IAI Work Plan II and welcome the efforts to formulate IAI Work Plan III (2016-2025) aimed at speeding up the reduction of development gap among ASEAN member states.
In addition, I strongly welcome and continue to lend my full support to all initiatives implemented to date to promote trade between ASEAN member states and dialogue partners. In this spirit, I wish to call on all ASEAN member states to effectively enhance the implementation of AFTA agreement and ASEAN free trade agreements with dialogue partners. Alongside, I wish to urge concerned ASEAN ministers and negotiation commissions to finalize the negotiation on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in 2016 to open up an enormous regional market which consists of three billion population.
2-Regional and International Issues:
The tragic events on 13th November 2015 in Paris confirm that terrorists and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to pose serious threat to the security and stability in the region and the world. We also witness that extremism movement and ideology are spreading to other regions. The Paris attacks are a wake-up call to strengthen international cooperation and effort to fight against extremism movement and ideology as well as the Islamic State. In this sense, Cambodia fully supports the effort to promote the movement of moderates, which is an important initiative of ASEAN.
On the issue of maritime security, especially South China Sea, Cambodia views that all parties should firmly adhere to dialogue approach and implement the existing ASEAN-China mechanisms including the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of Code of Conduct in South China Sea (COC). At the same time, all parties should promote joint activities based on early harvest approach to build mutual confidence and trust.