Excellency Chair of the Meeting,
Your Majesty the Sultan, Excellencies ASEAN Leaders,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
On behalf of the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia, I would like to congratulate H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his assumption of the Chairmanship of this important ASEAN Summit and to express our deep gratitude to the Government and People of Indonesia for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I would like also to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to ASEAN member countries for their generosity in providing emergency relief assistance to the Cambodian people during the recent flooding. May I now share with you all some of my views related to our agenda as follows:
- ASEAN Community Building and the Implementation of the ASEAN Charter
I highly appreciate the progress report on the annual targets for 2011, which is useful for assessing the activities that respond to ASEAN’s priorities. I would like to comment on some important issues as follows:
ASEAN Political-Security Community
I am pleased that significant progress has been made in pursuing the building of the ASEAN Political-Security Community. Cambodia highly appreciates the guideline for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in South China Sea. Moreover, we should forge a closer cooperation between the ARF and ADMM Plus (ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus) as the two mechanisms provide the synergy to reinforce regional confidence building.
ASEAN Economic Community
I am also pleased to note that the process of building the ASEAN Economic Community. Nevertheless, I am of the view that we should jointly continue to address the main obstacles on the road toward to the establishment of the ASEAN single market and production base, namely the reduction of non-tariff barriers and trade facilitation, especially the implementation of ASEAN Single Window. In this regard, I would like to urge ASEAN Economic Ministers to pay attention to the implementation of structural reforms and internal regulations to be consistent with ASEAN Agreements, and pay special attention on dispute settlement mechanism in the economic sector.
Cambodia wishes to thank the older ASEAN member countries and ASEAN development partners for their valuable contribution to the implementation of the 2nd action plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (2009-2015) in order to reduce development gaps in the ASEAN region. I highly appreciate the ASEAN Framework Paper for Equitable Economic Development and also welcome the Blueprint on ASEAN Framework for Comprehensive Economic Partnership at Regional Level. In the spirit of strengthening ASEAN centrality, I would like to support the proposal made by the ASEAN Economic Council to establish 3 working groups to work internally within ASEAN framework in order to formulate in advance the criteria acceptable by ASEAN before inviting our partners to negotiate the establishment of the ASEAN Plus Plus FTA.
ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
I highly appreciate ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Climate Change for the 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-17 UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP7 Kyoto Protocol).
I would like to express my full support for the ASEAN Declaration of Commitment: Getting To Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS-Related Deaths, the Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of Persons with Disability and the Declaration on ASEAN Unity in Cultural Diversity Towards Strengthening the ASEAN Community. Moreover, I would like to propose that we should push for the establishment of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Fund in order to carry out social-cultural activities aimed at promoting people-to-people connectivity in ASEAN Countries, as well as other activities under the framework of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Council.
Cambodia has given two priorities to the ASEAN connectivity. The first priority is the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link. As this connectivity is of critical importance to ASEAN, I think that our meeting should reiterate ASEAN’s commitment to realizing this project as planned. The second priority is the highway construction linking India, Myanmar, Laos, Viet Nam and Cambodia. In order to accelerate implementation this project, we should convene the ASEAN-India Transport Ministers’ Meeting as soon as possible. Moreover, we should also engage all ASEAN Partners including ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 countries and the ADB and to secure their support for the implementation of all projects under the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity by all means available, including ensuring maritime connectivity.
Implementation of the ASEAN Charter
ASEAN Charter is critical for the ASEAN Community in 2015. In this regard, I appreciate very much the development of legal and regulatory framework and would like to encourage the completion of the remaining legal instruments, such as the Rules for Reference of Non-Compliance to the ASEAN Summit. Moreover, ASEAN needs to translate the Protocol to the ASEAN Charter on Dispute Settlement Mechanisms into practical dispute settlement mechanisms in order to make ASEAN a rule-based organization.
2- ASEAN and the Wider Region
ASEAN +1 and ASEAN+3
I am pleased to note that the relations between ASEAN and its partners have strongly developed through the strengthening of regular dialogue at all levels. Each of the plus countries has become ASEAN’s strategic partners. The relationship between ASEAN and Australia, New Zealand, Russian Federation and the US has elevated to the Summit or Leader level. With this, I think we should continue to strengthen our cooperation and coordination in order to ensure ASEAN Centrality in an evolving regional architecture, especially the East Asia Summit (EAS)
East Asia Summit (EAS)
I am very pleased that ASEAN Connectivity has been added as a top priority area to the existing five priority areas of cooperation. We should make further efforts to seek financial contribution as well as technical assistance from the EAS members for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and the ASEAN Infrastructure Strategic Plan 2011-2015, which lays the foundation for narrowing development gaps within ASEAN and constitute a stepping stone towards East Asian integration over the longer term.
East Asia’s economic architecture should progress gradually and in phases, starting from trade in goods, services and investment, and enhancement of ASEAN Plus One and Plus Three cooperation reflecting ASEAN centrality.
Thank you for your attention!