This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and 20th anniversary of Cambodia’s membership in ASEAN as well. The last few decades, ASEAN has been perceived as a reliable security shield as well as the catalyst for regional economic prosperity and dynamism. ASEAN has capacity to socialize and diffuse norms and institutionally and diplomatically encourage major powers to behave peacefully and responsibly. Cambodia as member state has also played a noticeable role in intra-regional and external relations of ASEAN.
However, the emergence of Indo-Pacific has created some uncertainties in the Southeast Asian region leading ASEAN and its member countries to reassess their strategic and foreign policy choices. Competing visions for Indo-Pacific have turned out to be a major aspect in that context. For instance, Indonesia, which claims to have proposed a comprehensive Indo- Pacific, proposes to make it inclusive treaty-based construct similar to ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation while some other ASEAN members are strong supporters of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China.
In this spirit, the International Relations Institute of Cambodia (IRIC) of the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) in cooperation with and funded by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), will organize an international conference on “Cambodia and ASEAN Regionalism in the Context of Indo-Pacific” on 08 August 2019 in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. The objectives of this conference are:
- To commemorate 52nd anniversary of ASEAN establishment and 20th anniversary of Cambodia’s membership in ASEAN.
- To solemnly highlight the importance, endeavors, achievements and challenges of ASEAN and the relation between Cambodia and ASEAN in accordance with Cambodia’s policy of regional and international integration, likewise those of ASEAN
- To Examine ASEAN’s new architecture and rebalancing in the context of Indo-Pacific.
This conference will comprise of three panel sessions and followed by a wrap-up session at the end.
The first session will examine the ASEAN’s history, evolving objectives, and perspectives over the fifty years. Four speakers from ASEAN member states and representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, will provide an overall assessment of 52-year achievements, challenges and the current status of ASEAN, and 20-year of Cambodia’s membership in ASEAN, and examine Cambodia’s foreign policy in the broader context of great power competition in the region.
The second session will be future oriented. The speakers will examine the forms of cooperation and integration within ASEAN and beyond by focusing on economic development and deepening as well as overlapping interests in the context of a new changing world order. Speakers will also set out their respective views on what ASEAN needs to do to achieve its basic goals of peace, prosperity and stability in Southeast Asia.
The third session will comprise of five speakers from Australia, Cambodia, China, Germany and USA. This session attempts to comprehensively analyze the strategic objectives of Indo-Pacific, ongoing debates about its promises and likely pitfalls, and responses from ASEAN and its major stakeholders including China.
Dr. Kin Phea
International Relations Institute of Cambodia
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