Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday said that he has nominated his country’s foreign minister, Prak Sokhonn, to be the next special envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to Myanmar. The Cambodian leader made the announcement at the inauguration of a new hotel in Phnom Penh, and went on to defend his decision to engage the regime that has presided over Myanmar’s descent into chaos since it seized power in February.
Cambodia holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN for 2022, and has indicated that it will eschew the increasingly hard line on the regime that saw it excluded from the bloc’s last summit in October, in response to the Myanmar junta’s lack of cooperation in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus agreed in April.
Earlier this month, Hun Sen announced that he will travel to Myanmar on January 7-8 for direct talks with coup leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, becoming the first foreign leader to grace the military administration with an official state visit. Hun Sen has also announced that the general and his associates have the right to attend ASEAN summit meetings. “It’s a family member of ASEAN, they must have the rights to attend meetings,” he said on December 6, referring to the organization’s founding principle of “non-interference” in the affairs of member states.