Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 8 – Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen warned to take actions against any ill-intended groups who are planning to protest against Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2022.

The premier spoke at the inauguration of the office building of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction on Monday.

“I will do what it takes to crack down protests during Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship,” the premier said.

“If you violate the laws, you will be sentenced even amidst Cambodia’s hosting ASEAN,” he added.

Cambodia officially became a member of ASEAN on 30 April 1999. The kingdom hosted the ASEAN summits the first time in 2002 and the second time in 2012.

As ASEAN chairman, the premier presented Cambodia’s key priorities in 2022 as follows:

“On Political and Security Pillar, Cambodia will focus on strengthening the ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN Unity, for both regional mechanism and external partners’ cooperation, based on the ASEAN Way and Principles stipulated in the ASEAN Charter, Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. ASEAN must be resilient and strong against the pressure and influence stemming from rising geo-political competition, transnational-crimes, terrorism, climate change and infectious diseases, etc. to ensure our way forward in peace, security, and prosperity.

On Economic Pillar, Cambodia will promote effective implementation of all initiatives and measures agreed, as well as leverage trade agreements to the maximum so as to expedite the recovery of economic growth while we are living with Covid-19 in the new normal, and ensure that ASEAN remains an attractive and dynamic hub for trade and investment by enhancing both physical and digital connectivity; strengthening the capacity of MSMEs; and promoting the entrepreneurship amongst women and youth; as well as other priorities aimed at narrowing the development gaps and advancing regional integration.

On Socio-Cultural Pillar, Cambodia will strengthen the development of human resources to respond to the needs on the ground for community building, promote the participation of women and youth in building and maintaining peace, and develop an inclusive social protection system. Another key priority is strengthening people-to-people bonds to enhance the spirit of One ASEAN Identity.”