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The 23rd ASEAN- Republic of Korea Summit in Phnom Penh of Cambodia, what is next? By: Dr. Seun Sam
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Opinion

The 22nd ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit was held virtually on October 26, 2021, last year. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, presided over the summit. Since Cambodia and ROK have excellent relations and a large number of Cambodian students and employees are now residing in and working in ROK, Cambodia is honored to host this significant ASEAN-ROK event this year.

As this year's ASEAN Chair, the Royal Government of Cambodia has issued a number of statements denouncing North Korea for its repeated missile tests, which are seen as provocative activities that endanger regional security, and has consistently urged North Korea to abide by international law.

On October 4, 2022, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test launch over Japan. According to Prime Minister Hun Sen, this provocative action could intensify the already sensitive situation on the Korean Peninsula and lead to instability in the area. In a news statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he was reported as saying, "The move was risky and constituted another breach of the UN Security Council Resolutions."

This is a regrettable act in the area. Since it is not just a launch into the sea but also across the land, this is not a joke but rather a threat to regional security. Cambodia must adopt a definite position on this, prime minister Hun Sen said.

So far the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia calls on the DPRK to fully comply with all pertinent UNSC Resolutions and its international obligations and calls on all concerned parties to exercise self-restraint and create an environment conducive to the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks to bring about a complete, verifiable, irreversible, and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

As a small nation that has experienced numerous wars throughout its history, Cambodia is aware of how challenging it is to live under the threat of others. As ASEAN's chair this year, Cambodia made every effort to address problems in the region as well as those within the ASEAN association, particularly those that affect its allies and allies of ASEAN. Cambodia is a little nation, but it has a big heart, and it wants to cooperate with everyone who is affected to find a solution to the situation. However, Cambodia was unable to guarantee the success of its efforts because several problems exceeded not just Cambodia's, but the entire ASEAN's capabilities.

Sectoral dialogue contacts between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (ROK) were established in November 1989. In July 1991 in Kuala Lumpur, at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), ASEAN granted the ROK full Dialogue Partner status. In 1997 in Kuala Lumpur, the collaboration was upgraded to a Summit level. In 2004, the Republic of Korea (ROK) joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

Through already-established channels like the ASEAN-ROK Summit and Ministerial Meetings, ASEAN-ROK cooperation has improved in the political and security spheres as of 23 September 2022.

South Korea, through the New Southern Policy (NSP Plus) and its seven (7) core areas of cooperation, the ROK has pledged to strengthen its Strategic Partnership with ASEAN. In order to strengthen the joint efforts in addressing shared challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and creating a more resilient and sustainable future, ASEAN and Korea decided to adopt the Joint Statement of the 22nd ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit on Advancing ASEAN-Republic of Korea Cooperation for People-centered Community of Peace and Prosperity.

During the 22nd of the ASEAN-ROK Summit, the ASEAN and ROK also voiced worry over the situation in Myanmar, including allegations of fatalities and violence, and addressed events in Myanmar. The liberation of political prisoners, including those who were foreign nationals, was also demanded. They urged Myanmar to adhere to the Five-Point Consensus of the ASEAN Leaders' Meeting on April 24, 2021, and accept for the Five-Point Consensus' prompt and full implementation, specifically.

People-to-people exchange is prioritized by ASEAN and the ROK in an effort to strengthen ties and increase mutual understanding between their peoples. To boost people-to-people contacts between the two sides, a number of initiatives and activities have been carried out, including annual programs like the ASEAN-ROK Media People Exchanges Programme and the ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator (FLY), both of which have been put into place since 2012. The ROK and ASEAN are currently looking for ways to expand their collaboration in organizing and developing films.

Currently, there are numerous Indo-Pacific strategies and policies in use around the globe. As ASEAN could not implement all strategies of the Indo-Pacific Policy proposed by the US or EU countries, there are a few items of the Indo-Pacific Policy that ASEAN may love the most, so Korea needs to understand each item of the Indo-Pacific Policy that ASEAN has or each item of the Indo-Pacific Policy that ASEAN would like to implement in their countries in order to increase cooperation with ASEAN nations.

Korea should only briefly touch on a few aspects of its Indo-Pacific Strategy with each ASEAN nation. For instance, if you visit Cambodia and want to have a good working relationship with Cambodia, you must look into each component of the Indo-Pacific Policy that Cambodia requires, you must comprehend Cambodia's needs, and you must then continue to discuss your ability to assist Cambodia in filling in any gaps. Your embassies in the ASEAN nations must comprehend and put this into practice in this way.

Dr. Seun Sam is a Policy Analyst bases in the Royal Academy of Cambodia.  

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RAC Media


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