ASEAN MEETING. Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen along with Asean foreign ministers and Asean Secretary-General pose for the commemorative photo at the opening of Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Wednesday (Aug. 3, 2022). The regional bloc seeks to boost post-pandemic recovery and finalize a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. (VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Vũ Hùng)

PHNOM PHENH -- Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn attended the 55th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-55) which opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Wednesday.

This is the first in-person gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) top diplomats along with major partner countries after two years of disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen recalled the Asean's 55-year history and its beyond-expected achievements, making Southeast Asia a region of cooperation, development and trust.

He underscored the regional and global uncertainties caused by the multidimensional impacts of Covid-19, tensions among major countries, and crises in Myanmar and Ukraine.

Non-traditional challenges, such as climate change, natural disasters, energy security, and food security, have put Asean and the region at large through such an ordeal, the PM said.

More than ever, Asean needs to unite, promote its centrality, and strive to build a cohesive, inclusive, and cooperative community with the spirit of “Unity in Diversity,” Hun Sen said.

With the motto “Asean: Addressing Challenges Together,” the bloc must show commitment to surmounting hardships together, particularly boosting post-pandemic recovery, implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and finalizing a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) that is effective and consistent with international laws, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said.

He called on Asean to strengthen coordination in responding to climate change and environmental degradation, consider the establishment of an Asean Green Deal, and bring the RCEP into full play.

Shortly before the opening ceremony, Sơn and the FMs of other Asean nations paid a courtesy call to PM Hun Sen.

The ministers expressed appreciation to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian Government for the warm welcome, affirming that they will contribute to the overall success of this meeting, and support Cambodia in fulfilling the task of Asean Chair 2022.

Vietnamese foreign minister also had a meeting with Prak Sokhonn, Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, during which the officials discussed how the two sides can coordinate to successfully organize the event.

Talking about how to step up the long-standing friendship and partnership between the two countries, they agreed to further reinforce the ties by maintaining and increasing the exchange of high-level delegations and meetings, as well as comprehensive cooperation mechanisms. Vietnam and Cambodia are aiming to achieve more than USD10 billion in two-way trade value this year.

The two countries plan to host a variety of activities during the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Year 2022 to mark the 55th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and beef up a partnership in defense-security, agriculture, education and training, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges. (VNS)