Siem Reap (FN), Nov. 23 – Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen said that ten years ago, the premier proposed having a "civil war free zone" or "conflict free zone" in Southeast Asia.

The premier spoke at the opening ceremony of the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Plus and related meetings, held on Wednesday morning (Nov 23) in Sokha Siem Reap Hotel.

“Ten years ago, I proposed having a "civil war free zone" or "conflict free zone" in Southeast Asia. At that time, no other ASEAN member states had thought of the re-emergence of civil war in the region. But now, Myanmar is on the brink of civil war. In some parts of Myanmar, civil war is already in place,” the premier underscored.  

Cambodia, as the victim of more than three decades of civil war, has some experiences to share with other countries in terms of peace-making, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and post-conflict nation building.

Learning from the peace process in Cambodia, especially under the Win-win Policy in 1990s, Samdech would like to summarise into three points as follow:

First, we need to always keep the door open for inclusive political dialogue and negotiation.

Second, we need to ensure the safety, justice, and wellbeing of all parties.

Third, we need to have the ownership, while bearing the responsibility of the peace process. National ownership is critical to peace negotiation.

The theme of the ADMM Plus this year focuses on "harmonised security". This is a relatively new concept for the region. We need to recognise and underscore the importance of interdependence for peace and stability. Notably, interconnectedness, interdependence and cooperative security have been the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.