Foreign ministers from Asean, key partners to meet in Cambodia this week

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ASEAN’s foreign ministers and their counterparts from the United States, China, Russia and other key partners will meet in Cambodia’s capital city for a series of annual meetings starting on Tuesday (Aug 2).

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will be attending the 55th ASEANForeign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

“Minister Balakrishnan will engage his counterparts on ongoing and emergent regional and

international developments and discuss ways to promote regional peace and stability,” the ministry said.

This week’s meetings will be the first time they are taking place in-person after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides discussing how the region can work together to recover from the pandemic, the AMM will review ASEAN’s efforts to build a regional community, discuss ways to continue strengthening ASEAN centrality and unity, as well as regional peace and stability.

ASEAN centrality is a concept that refers to the regional grouping being in the driver’s seat and shaping key decisions affecting South-east Asia, instead of having the region’s fortunes determined by external parties.

The foreign ministers will also review ASEAN’s collective responses to regional and global challenges.

They are also likely to further discuss new areas of cooperation for the region, including digitalisation, cyber security, renewable energy and sustainable development.

Myanmar, whose military launched a coup against the country’s democratically elected government in February last year, will be a key focus of the talks.

MFA said the meeting will take stock of efforts to implement the Five-Point Consensus reached at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta in April last year.

The Consensus was drawn up in an attempt to bring an end to the violence and instability in the country.

Last week, ASEAN denounced Myanmar’s move to execute four activists, which went ahead despite appeals by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, in his capacity as ASEAN chair this year, for the sentences to be reconsidered.

A joint communique agreed upon by all ASEAN members is traditionally released after the AMM, the grouping’s 55th since it was formed in Bangkok in 1967.

The foreign minister appointed by Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council will not be invited to the AMM this year, in line with ASEAN’s status quo where the country can only be represented by a non-political representative until there is progress in implementing the Consensus.

ASEAN foreign ministers will also meet their counterparts from 11 key dialogue partners this week; Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are all expected to be in Phnom Penh.



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