Prime Minister Hun Sen will not attend the Asean summit in Hanoi next week if Cambodia has not been admitted to the grouping before the summit starts, one of his senior advisers said.
“This is the government’s idea suggested to him,” Prak Sokhonn said on Monday after Hun Sen met with the new Vietnamese ambassador, Nguyen Duy Hung. Prak Sokhonn said Hun Sen agreed to base his decision to attend next week’s summit in Hanoi on whether Cambodia is admitted as a full member or remains an observer nation.
If Cambodia is not admitted, the country would still be represented at the summit, but by other government officials, Prak Sokhonn said.
Asean’s Hanoi summit is Dec 15-16. The foreign ministers of Asean member states will meet on Dec 13-14 and may decide on Cambodia’s membership then.
Nguyen Duy Hung told Hun Sen that Vietnam supported Cambodia’s membership application, Prak Sokhonn said. Hun Sen assured the Vietnamese ambassador that he would still make his official visit to Vietnam even if he didn’t attend the summit.
Hun Sen leaves for Vietnam on Dec 13. During his visit to Hanoi, he will sign two agreements with Vietnam’s government. He will agree to the transportation of goods from Vietnam to Phnom Penh via the Mekong River and to cooperation on issues related to tourism, Prak Sokhonn said.
Transportation down the Mekong River has long been a bone of contention between the two countries. Vietnam has prevented some ships from crossing the border into Cambodia, and shipping and commerce officials have complained in the past that ships en route to Cambodia have experienced long delays.