Cambodia and Malaysia Try to Resolve Their Differences

“Frank and candid” talks held as Olympic-sized global issues take hold.

Amid the usual pomp and fanfare, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen rolled out the red carpet for his Malaysian counterpart in Phnom Penh this week, in what was widely seen as an attempt to soften differences within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and find desperately needed common ground on global issues.

However, the meeting was overshadowed by both the ongoing carnage in Myanmar, an issue that has divided ASEAN, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an issue which will challenge ASEAN given the joint statement issued by Beijing and Moscow as the Winter Olympics began.

The 5,364-word statement did not mention Ukraine and according to analysts interviewed by the Washington Post that omission may reflect China’s unwillingness to support openly a Russian invasion of its western neighbor.

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