Cambodia as ASEAN Chair: A Mid-Term Assessment on Myanmar

Since joining ASEAN in October 1999, Cambodia has championed issues related to bridging the gap between the new and original ASEAN members. Phnom Penh realized that as the last member to join the grouping, it can also serve as a catalyst for other newcomers to further integrate with the ASEAN Community. After more than two decades, the country can boast that it has largely integrated with the regional economy. For instance, the country is now one of the most open financial hubs in ASEAN.

Furthermore, it must be said that Cambodia has never shied away from engaging great powers, be it China, the US, Russia or Japan. Prime Minister Hun Sen enjoys tête-à-têtes with world leaders on multiple issues. His latest performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos was just one of the examples of Cambodia’s growing confidence in the global community.

In the case of the Myanmar quagmire, the slow progress has been attributed to continued fighting between the conflicting parties inside Myanmar, in particular over the past seven months of the dry season. Despite continuous efforts to jumpstart political dialogue, the ASEAN special envoy has admitted that at this juncture none of the stakeholders are ready for dialogue.

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