Southeast Asian leaders call for unity in the face of tensions

Southeast Asian leaders call for unity in the face of tensions

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called for unity at a meeting attended by Russia, China and the United States on Sunday, saying current global tensions have taken a toll everywhere.

The president, whose country holds the turn of the presidency in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, for its acronym in English), said at the opening of the East Asia meeting that cooperating to resolve differences peacefully is in the interest of all

The comments came amid heightened tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan and Beijing’s growing regional aspirations, and as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted global supply chains, pushing up energy and food prices much higher. beyond Europe.

Without identifying any country by name, Hun Sen said he hoped leaders would embrace a “spirit of community by supporting open and inclusive multilateralism, pragmatism and mutual respect in addressing the existential and strategic challenges we all face.”

“Many current challenges and tensions have undermined our past hard-fought efforts to promote sustainable development and cause great hardship in people’s lives,” he said at the opening of the conference, which is being held on the sidelines of the major group summit of ASEAN.

Among those in attendance were US President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. There was much anticipation surrounding the meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, scheduled for the following day at the Group of 20 meeting in Bali.

The summit was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as the heads of government of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan, among others.

Biden promised on Saturday that the United States would work with ASEAN, telling leaders of the strategic coalition that “we are going to build a better future that we all want to see” in the region, where China, a rival to the United States, is also making efforts to gain influence. .

He promised to collaborate to build a “free and open, stable and prosperous, resilient and secure” region.

“I look forward to continuing our work together with ASEAN and each of you to bolster peace and prosperity across the region to resolve challenges, from the South China Sea to Myanmar, and find innovative solutions to shared challenges,” he said. Biden, who mentioned climate and health security as areas of collaboration.

For his part, Li Keqiang told a meeting of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea that in a “turbulent” global security context, “unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise, economic and financial risks are growing and the global development faces unprecedented challenges.

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