Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 25 – French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, and other 51 head of state/government and high-level representatives of countries from Asia and Europe, the president of the European Council, president of the European Commission, and the ASEAN secretary-general participated in ASEM13 on Thursday via videoconference.

Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen will chair the ASEM13 summit under the theme "Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth" to discuss in the two-day summit.

The ASEM leaders will discuss the ASEM's Role in Promoting Multilateralism, which focuses on a number of topics including: 1) ASEM at its 25: Achievement, Challenges, and Way Forward; 2) Revitalizing Multilateralism for Global Peace and Stability; 3) Strengthening rule-based trading system; 4) Inclusive and Sustainable Growth and Developments; 5) Connectivity; 6) Women, Peace, and Security; and 7) Climate Change.

The ASEM leaders will also discuss the COVID19 and socio-economic recovery/development, which focuses on 1) addressing issues caused by COVID-19; 2) advancing post-COVID19 socio-economic recovery for shared growth; and 3) rebuilding a resilient future.

Under Cambodia's chairmanship, the ASEM13 will adopt three main outcome documents, namely (1) ASEM13 Chair's Statement; (2) Phnom Penh Statement on the Post-COVID19 Socio-Economic Recovery; and (3) The Way Forward on ASEM Connectivity.

The ASEM is an intergovernmental forum established in 1996 to promote dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe, which is considered as the only informal forum, focusing on strengthening partnerships, promoting peace and security as well as sustainable socio-economic development.

The meeting is an excellent forum for leaders to address global issues as it covers political and security aspects, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural aspects.

ASEM has only 26 founding members since its first summit in March 1996 in Bangkok. Then, the forum has expanded its membership to 53 countries and partners, including 30 in Europe and 21 in Asia, adding European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. The ASEM represents about 65 percent of the global economy, 60 percent of the world population, 55 percent of world trade and 75 percent of world tourism.

Over the past 25 years, ASEM has made significant institutional changes and contributed to solving both regional and global issues that required close cooperation between the two continents.

Cambodia has participated since the ASEM5 in Vietnam 2004. Cambodia hosts ASEM13 for the first time, which was originally scheduled for 2020, and leaders of Asia-Europe countries are scheduled to attend the summit in person in Cambodia. However, due to COVID19, the meeting was postponed to 2021 and held via videoconference.

As the chair of this ASEM13, Cambodia pledges to promote multilateralism as well as its active participation in the international community to address the global challenges and emerging issues.

Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEM13 is another historical event and pride for the kingdom. It is an opportunity for Cambodia to participate in the international arena with equal footing.