Is Cambodia the weakest link in ASEAN chain?

Last week, the Southeast Asian region saw an uproar due to intra-ASEAN tensions, between Cambodia and Singapore. The trigger for this was an event hosted by the region’s leading think tank, the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)-Yusof Ishak Institute, which held the 35th ASEAN Roundtable on post-Covid challenges for the countries there.

During the panel discussion, a participant remarked on the possibility of having to cut both Cambodia and Laos from the group, to salvage ASEAN regionalism. The inability of the two states to apply individual agency on regional matters while supporting China’s larger interests was a key factor for this comment. What followed were publications in digital and social media with an exchange of views from Cambodia and Singapore.

While the matter settled in a few days, the role of Cambodia’s integration into ASEAN is becoming more complex, making it imperative to analyse its role in regional stability, or the lack thereof.

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