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Hun Sen: Address to Asia Pacific Summit 2018

Address to Asia Pacific Summit 2018, Kathmandu, Nepal, Nov. 30–Dec. 3, 2018


Excellency Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal;

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

At the outset, I would like to express my profound thanks to the government and people of Nepal for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegations during our official visit and participation in the 2018 Asia-Pacific Summit. The theme of this summit, “Addressing Critical Challenges of Our Time: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values,” is very important for all of us in this new era.

Currently, the world is facing many challenges, which are systematically related and stemming from global structural changes, including the trade war, poverty, terrorism, climate change, food insecurity, moral decline and breakdown, forced eviction, natural disasters and arms races that are threatening the development, security and harmony of the globe. All these require us to adopt an “Inclusive and Holistic Approach” in the pursuit of consultative dialogues and practical measures in order to effectively address those issues. In this regard, I appreciate the efforts made by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the government of Nepal, and the support provided by the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in organizing this summit. I would like also to welcome the participation for the first time by the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace and the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen! All of us present here are deeply concerned about peace, stability and global security amid an evolution toward a new multi-polar framework which is taking place due to competing interests and rebalancing of global power. Such evolution will lead to the reform of the global architecture in terms of political, social and economic orders which will have implications on global institutional arrangements and governance rules as well as development paradigms in general. Our world and various regions continue to face uncertainty caused by the trade war and economic competition on the basis of protectionism and selfishness with regard to positions taken by some superpowers toward key global policies such as monetary policy, and policies on climate change and issues related to geopolitics, terrorism and global security. Besides that, extremism, terrorism and social inequalities, which mainly originate from a shift in power, an adherence to different development models and an intolerance among religious groups and nationalities, are causing conflicts and uncertainties globally.

As a developing country, Cambodia is greatly concerned by the decision of a superpower to withdraw from major international agreements. This act vividly reflects a serious threat to the core legitimacy of international legal orders. Such unilateral action has weakened the relations between states as well as caused tension within the international community. Indeed, in the context of globalization, everything is connected. If we start to uphold protectionist policy, unilateralism and trade wars, we are closing our doors to all trade and investment opportunities that have brought about prosperity for many decades to all countries, both small and big, across the globe. This is the real threat to the realization of sustainable development goals.

Therefore, we must ensure that our cooperation mechanisms remain open and support the multilateral trading systems, particularly in accelerating social and economic connectivity that promotes development agendas of every country to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable and inclusive development. Cambodia, as a small economy, believes in the benefits generated by rule-based international cooperation. We believe that global trade should not be restricted by unilaterally imposed taxation, but it should be fostered and supported by conducive trade and investment policies.

According to Cambodia’s experiences, in order to promote inclusive growth, it is first and foremost important to secure peace and security. In fact, firm peace and political stability, and improved security and public order have brought about sustainable and inclusive growth as well as positive changes to the multi-party liberal democratic system in Cambodia. Cambodia has already graduated from a least-developed country status, a country ravaged by civil war, internal conflict and poverty, to become a lower middle-income country, and is now regarded as a new tiger economy in Asia with robust annual growth at approximately 7.7% over the past two decades. Cambodia’s economic development is indeed a successful case for the world. Even though this hard-earned success is a result of the persistent efforts and perseverance of our nation, it could not be separated from the contribution of the global community and international architecture which have provided a favorable environment for our development, namely, peace, security, stability, global order and cooperation in all areas in the context of globalization.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen! We all know that some ideologies have been created in reaction to the major ideology that is currently dominating the global order. However, we must realize that no ideology is perfect, and each ideology has its own positive and negative implications once it is adopted. If one country chooses a good development path for her people, we should respect their decision because it is their sovereign choice and an internal affair of that country, as long as that decision contributes to improving the quality of life and fulfilling the potential of human beings. Violating a country’s right to the choice is equal to violating their sovereignty and provoking an interference into internal affairs of the country.

Disagreement over ideologies contributes to the deficit of trust in the international community, and causes uncertainty in the world at the present time. In this regard, I would like to share my views in order to contribute to addressing those challenges through the following principles and measures:

  1. Fostering friendship with all countries and not making enemies with any country by ensuring long-term commitment to peace and sustainable development.
  1. Promoting regular dialogues and cooperation with each other to minimize the risks caused by misunderstanding, misperception and misinformation which may lead to conflicts or wars. We must respect each country’s independence, sovereignty, and internal affairs within the framework of an international system based on the rule of law, openness and inclusiveness as well as mutual benefit.
  1. Continuing to strengthen policy coordination, information sharing and joint efforts to combat extremism and terrorism, especially through the promotion of trust between state institutions and societies to ensure that discrimination issues are rightly addressed.
  1. Promoting the development that serves the current needs without distorting the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In this regard, we must ensure that the environment and natural resources are protected on the path towards sustainable development. In this regard, Cambodia has the honor of being entrusted to lead the initiative to establish the Asian Culture Council (ACC), with me, myself, serving as an honorary founding president to promote cooperation in the areas of culture, conservation, sustainable development and protection of cultural and historical heritages, as well as to strengthen Asia’s cultural identity for peace and prosperity across the whole region.
  1. Integrating the field of technology into education curriculum and skills training, both in formal and informal education systems, particularly through the formulation of partnerships and policy coordination.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen! All challenges we are facing now require cooperation and engagement from all stakeholders with mutual trust and mutual respect based on common benefits. This is not the time for us to continue to be separated, to remain silent or to avoid the problem. It is time to respond urgently and responsibly to address the challenges, fears and anger that are damaging some countries, through mobilizing resources, as well as revising strategies and practical actions to strengthen the value of peace, dignity and solidarity, including cooperation on equal footing and respect for each other for the achievement of prosperity for our region and the world. In this regard, positive and stable relations among countries, especially among major countries, are an important basis for peace, security and prosperity in the region and the world.

Cambodia is firmly committed to and highly optimistic about our development and future. We always welcome cooperation based on mutual understanding and respect, and move forward with confidence to build a prosperous world that upholds utmost universal values.

Thank you!



To go to the 2018 Asia Pacific Summit Schedule page, click here.