After delivering the speech at the opening of the Sixth Xiangshan Forum on “Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: Reality and Vision” in Beijing, Samdech Techo Hun Sen clarified (1) reasons why Cambodia has become a member of ASEAN, (2) the need to strengthen discussion on ASEAN inter-regional security, and (3) Cambodia’s foreign policy. CNV unofficially selected and translated as followed:
… Thank you for this question. Moment ago, I delivered a speech in which I illustrated a number of roles that Cambodia plays in the framework of ASEAN. What I wish to emphasize reasons why Cambodia has to be a member of ASEAN. Cambodia did not become member of ASEAN at the time when Lao and Myanmar did. Cambodia was the youngest child of the ASEAN’s ten countries. What are the factors that prompted Cambodia to join ASEAN? Let me clarify to Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, that there were four major reasons why Cambodia decided to be a member of ASEAN. The first factor was its principle of non-interference on each other’s affairs. That is the most important factor. The second factor was its community spirit. ASEAN works on consensus principle. No matter how big or small, rich or poor the country is, they all have equal right. It is this community spirit is what we crave for. The third factor is integration that leads to socio-economic development. Cambodia views great interest from becoming a member of ASEAN as it looks to the benefit from the group’s integration. It is on 31 December 2015 that the ASEAN Economic Community is coming into reality. Lastly, the fourth factor that attracted Cambodia into ASEAN was the fact that we see it as our door out on diplomacy. ASEAN has so many partners in the various frameworks – ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN-Europe, ASEAN-UN, etc. Therefore, when Cambodia become a member of ASEAN, it is true that we reap our diplomatic benefit from outward looking with others in ASEAN. The three pillars of ASEAN – political-security, economic and social-cultural communities have realized and are giving fruits. It is certain that every ASEAN member, small or big, rich or poor, has similar role to play. Cambodia, like nine other members, has same share in the building of ASEAN communities.
… ASEAN has reaped its fruits so far because of dialogues. The ASEAN ministers of National Defense and those in charge of security have kept up their dialogues. For example, last April, there was this ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur. Prior to that summit, there was ASEAN and related meetings in Myanmar. Taking interest in security issue, we have organized consultation among major players whose responsibility is to take care of national defense and security. Today’s forum is also a major part of such consultation for keeping security in the region – not only in ASEAN but also in a wider coverage. I think that creating trust through consultation, bilateral and multilateral dialogues would bring interest of guaranteeing peace and stability, and preventing crimes, including also acts of terrorism conducted by extremist groups.
… I have said that the relation between China and the United States of America is significant for security in Asia-Pacific region. I believe that through the recent visit of President Xi Jinping to the US, the two sides are seeking every means to manage their relations in this region. I am of the opinion that in the 21rst century, though some countries have embarked on arms buildup, the extent to which use of arms for resolving problems is not within reach anymore. We understand that in the past decade, there have been various new weapons produced, but I believe they are not means for problem solving. Those policy makers, either the US or China, or other countries, will certainly not use forces or threat of force for resolving problem. On another note, rise of China, I believe, is not a threat to other countries in the region. Though I belong to younger generation, I also have studied the Chinese history. China never sent troops beyond its border. Rise of Chinese military might, proved by its latest parade in the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Fascism, is not a threat for any country or region. I have this much belief and trust. Every country, small or big, rich or poor, finds peace, security and stability theirs and the regional needs. In this instance, use of dialogue is better than all else./.