The 27th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum has put the South China Sea dispute, peace in the Korean peninsula and human rights problems in Myanmar on top of its agenda for discussions.
Chheang Vun, spokesman and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the National Assembly, said yesterday at a press conference that while issues in Indochina, including Cambodia, are being resolved, there are problems involving China, the Koreas and Myanmar which need to be addressed.
“We still have some issues to be resolved including the South China Sea territorial dispute between some countries and China and challenges in the Korean peninsula,” he said. “We also need to discuss human rights abuses in Myanmar.”
Mr Vun said that Cambodia has emerged from war to obtain peace and stability and will share its experiences with the other countries at the four-day meeting which started in Siem Reap yesterday.
“Now we have peace, social stability, and development because of the win-win policies of Prime Minister Hun Sen,” Mr Vun said.
He added that Cambodia’s stance on the South China Sea and Korean peninsula issues is based on a consensus by all countries in Asean in which the Kingdom is also a member.
“Our stance is that we want all relevant parties to resolve the South China Sea and Korean peninsula issues peacefully,” Mr Vun said, adding the Cambodia has called on the United States and North Korea to discuss problems peacefully.
Mr Vun said that this year’s APPF meeting will also touch on having more women in politics, security, economics, finance and development sectors.
On the sidelines of the meeting yesterday morning, National Assembly president Heng Samrin signed an MoU on cooperation with Lao National Assembly president Pany Yathotou after both of them held a meeting for more than an hour.
Mr Vun said that Mr Samrin and Ms Yathotou met to discuss cooperation between the national assemblies of both countries and the Vietnamese national assembly to push for development in the region in which Laos and Cambodia have four provinces and Vietnam has five.
He said that the MoU between Cambodia and Laos is also on preventing transnational crime and protecting minority ethnic populations living in the golden triangle area.
“We will push to protect our territorial integrity and our independence in the area too,” Mr Vun added.
Ms Yathotou requested both governments to boost cooperation in commerce between both countries and also thanked Cambodia for buying electricity from Laos, a press release issued by the national assembly said.
After the opening yesterday, the forum kicked off with a meeting of Asia Pacific women parliamentarians with the main event starting today.
Mr Samrin said that the focus of the women’s meetings is on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls towards realising sustainable development.
“Cambodia is a country which has made great efforts to promote the value of women and it is widely known as the motherland,” he said. “The Great Khmer civilisation could not be separated from female leadership in ancient times.”