Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen (L) hands over the gavel of the ASEAN Chair to Indonesian President Joko Widodo as the next ASEAN Chair at the closing ceremony of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 13, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)
The 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits concluded in Cambodia on Sunday, achieving fruitful results for greater regional cooperation towards the post-COVID-19 pandemic socio-economic recovery.
"Within these four days, we have had a comprehensive and productive discussion on the way forward to strengthen ASEAN centrality and our value in relation with our external partners, particularly at a time when the world is facing the fast evolving complex regional and international issue," Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said at the closing ceremony of the summits.
A total of 70 outcome documents and declarations covering the three pillars of ASEAN communities were adopted and noted at the summits, with various cooperation frameworks with dialogue partners endorsed, said the prime minister.
"We have issued the Joint Statement on the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the DOC in 2002," he said.
For the ASEAN community building, the summits had adopted the ASEAN Leaders' Statement on the 55th Anniversary of ASEAN, the ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on ASEAN A.C.T: Addressing Challenges Together, and the ASEAN Leaders' Statement on ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda, he added.
On Friday, the ASEAN leaders agreed in principle to admit Timor-Leste as the 11th ASEAN member, according to an ASEAN leaders' statement.
"I would like to stress that ASEAN centrality is the primary driving force for substantive dialogue and collaboration with our external partners through various ASEAN-led mechanisms," Hun Sen said. "We maintain ASEAN unity regardless of circumstances for the best interests of the whole region."
He said fostering solidarity and unity will remain ASEAN's top priority in the coming years.
"As attested by this year's spirit of togetherness, we have been able to address and overcome many challenges facing our region, thus enable us to secure peace, prosperity, and harmony within our ASEAN family," he said.
At the closing ceremony, Hun Sen handed over the gavel of the ASEAN Chair to Indonesian President Joko Widodo as the next ASEAN Chair.
Widodo said as the chair of ASEAN in 2023, Indonesia will make "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth" and that the bloc must become a peaceful region and anchor for global stability, "not be a proxy to any powers."
"ASEAN must be a dignified region, uphold the values of humanity and democracy," he said at the event. "ASEAN should not let current geopolitical dynamic turn into a new Cold War in our region."
ASEAN must also be a region with robust, inclusive, sustainable economic growth, and economic growth has and will always be the story of ASEAN, Widodo said.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.