… Indeed my prepared speech does not respond directly to the issue of where Cambodia is standing. Where is it going to be? I think we have to put thing into perspective while making a precise statement rather than referring to it in a diplomatic way. It is true that the era of cold war and the confrontation between ideologies ended. Small countries have become more independent than in the time of cold war where they were prone to depend on powerful countries or countries belong to this or that bloc. Whereas the powerful countries readjusted their strategies from confrontation to engagement and cooperation, small countries have resorted to reducing their dependencies on powerful ones while the latter also sized down their commitments to foreign countries as well.
… The move has brought about a need for an economic alliance among countries. Though the economic development is at different levels, they all have sought for a favorable position in the economic grouping. The move to such an alliance of economic cooperation has become a key requirement of each country to formulate its foreign policy. In particular in this region (South East Asia) where a total hostility used to prevail between ASEAN and former Indochinese countries, such conflicts had evolved from confrontation to engagement, and to this moment, to peaceful coexistence through the enlargement of the ASEAN (from six to ten). The same is true for Europe. Before there used to be two confronting blocs – WARSAW and NATO, that competed fiercely in arms race. Europe has now become a big community already.
… Unfortunately, when the cold war came to an end, we observe that a hot one has occurred. Take for instance conflicts in Angola where the UN resolution has been adopted more or less at the same time with Cambodia still exist. We also notice problems in Sierra Leone, Congo and Zaire that are getting worse and worse. In the war against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia was the base from where the US launched the fight. Now we all ask what Saudi Arabia has become. It has become as we all can see a nest of terrorism – in human and other resources, not only in Saudi Arabia but also for their links in other countries. This is the real situation.
… If one asks where one is, one has to take into consideration the position of where the world is. We all do not know exactly as to where the whole world is but say in general manner that the cold war and ideological confrontation are over, and the world is in the phase of globalization, start of regionalism and integration. In pursuit of the above target, we notice that wars occur in many places and terrorist activities are taking place at different levels in various countries. Therefore it is a must that all countries have to stand united and fight terrorism all together because the act of terrorism in one country would inflict problems to the others.
… It is my observation that while the terrorist strengthen their alliance, states on the contrary has become less coordinating and, in my opinion, allowed gaps for insurgences by the terrorists. It is worth observing that the terrorists have made use of all state and private structures and they are also educated and coordinated as they have links from the Middle East to Asia, and from there to Cambodia where we have arrested some of them the other day. In face of such cooperation among the terrorists, the states have parted away from one another at different levels. Take for instance in Europe, the claim of ownership between Turkey and Greece over Cyprus has put the two countries in the mood of lacking of coordination.
… We have spoken of alliance in the region but I seem to notice a lack of balance in this matter. The ASEM meeting – the Summit between Asia and Europe is about to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam. The EU wishes that their ten new member states be admitted without condition, but they have placed a condition (for ASEAN) to exclude Burma from the meeting. The problem has arisen and how do we solve this? In my view we have to move on in the win-win framework. Seeing this lack of balance, Cambodia could not afford to leave Burma outside alone. Cambodia would have to sacrifice this chance and to stay outside together with Burma as well. Our position is clear — the EU’s ten new members’ entries should be corresponding with the entry of the ASEAN three states – Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. Otherwise, we all cancel the entry together.
… If we consider Burma as an issue for relationship between the ASEAN community and the European Union, I think that we are moving against the current of regionalism. Cambodia is sticking into the policy of win-win solution. By saying so, Cambodia does not wish to interfere in any country’s internal affairs or to offer any support to the violation of human rights. First Cambodia thought we must move ahead but we have to think of unity in ASEAN. If the European Union resorts to allow Burma to sit together with them, it would do a lot better than leaving Burma alone. It is in this reason that we have chosen to write a sentence “isolation no longer is a choice for any country”. ASEAN has an objective and is in the process of implementing it – maintain unity of ASEAN and narrowing down the gap between old member states (developed) and new member states (least developed). So to leave someone alone or to let one walk in a rough terrain alone is inappropriate. We do not want a wrong signal for the ASEAN unity. In response to the question where Cambodia is standing, we should ask the same question as to where the world is standing now…