03 March 2015
The accusation against Cambodia following the controversial 2012 ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh fails to acknowledge the challenges that each member state faces with the rise of China. A strong and united ASEAN is needed as the group formalises this year its vision of a cohesive ASEAN Community.
Three years after the controversial 2012 ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Cambodia which ended for the first time without a joint communiqué, opinion still weighed against Phnom Penh. As the region enters a crucial year to formalise its vision of a single, united and cohesive ASEAN Community, what lessons could be learned from the Phnom Penh debacle?
In 2012, all eyes were on Cambodia to see how it would handle the most contentious South China Sea maritime disputes between its close ally China and some ASEAN member states namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. As expected, the Philippines and Vietnam pushed for their claims during the talks in Phnom Penh. When ASEAN failed to issue a joint communiqué for the first time in 45 years, many were quick to point their finger at Cambodia, accusing its leaders of putting their interests ahead of ASEAN’s unity and centrality.
…Phoak Kung is Co-founder and Co-President of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies. He contributed this specially to RSIS Commentary.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 04/03/2015