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Asia-Pacific Summit 2019 begins today

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Vice-chairman of the Government Spokespersons Unit Ek Tha, far right, speaks at a press conference yesterday. KT/Ben Sokhean

Nearly 2,000 people, including 800 delegates from 48 countries, will today attend the Asia-Pacific Summit 2019 in Phnom Penh, where they will learn about how the Kingdom was able to end decades of civil war.

Ek Tha, vice-chairman of the Government Spokespersons Unit, yesterday said foreign senior government officials and parliamentarians from the 48 countries have confirmed their attendance.

Mr Tha added Cambodia is a suitable place to host the summit because of the Kingdom’s history of reconciliation and promotion of peace.

“The Kingdom was chosen to host the Asia-Pacific Summit because organisers noted that Cambodia was torn by civil war for 40 years,” he said. “Cambodians hate war and they want peace and development.”

“The organisers saw the Kingdom ended the war under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen through his win-win policy in 1998,” Mr Tha added. “At the end of 2018, Prime Minister Hun Sen led a delegation to attend the Asia-Pacific Summit in Kathmandu…organisers understood that the Cambodian government was committed to maintaining peace, stability and sustainable development.”

The summit is co-hosted by the Kingdom in conjunction with the Universal Peace Federation, while the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace and the Asian Cultural Council aided with coordination. The summit will last until Thursday.

Mr Hun Sen and top foreign leaders are scheduled to deliver speeches tomorrow under the theme of “Addressing the critical challenges of our times: Peace, reconciliation, independence, mutual prosperity and universal values”.

Ek Nath Dhakal, UPF Asia-Pacific chairman, said these leaders include Myanmar Vice Presiden Henry Van Thio, Palau Vice President Raynold Oilouch, former Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and former Timor Leste President Xanana Gusmão.

Mr Dhakal said the summit this year will be bigger than the one in Nepal last year because Nepal hosted 45 countries and the Kingdom will host 48.

He said Cambodia is “a model for other countries” because of its history in achieving peace.

“I think Cambodia’s peace and reconciliation process is a model for other countries,” Mr Ek said. “So they can come here and they can learn about Cambodia’s successful peace and reconciliation process. That is the reason why they chose Cambodia.”

Mr Hun Sen previously said it was an honour to host the summit.

“This summit is important and relevant to the current global situation where peace, harmony and prosperity are being threatened by existing and emerging challenges, including natural catastrophes, climate change, environmental destruction, poverty, terrorism and so on.”

Mr Hun Sen called the upcoming event a “historic summit” that contributes to addressing critical challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

He said the summit’s goal is for nations to walk toward greater peace, reconciliation, independence, mutual prosperity and universal values.

“Peace has allowed Cambodia to develop its economy, and stand on the right path toward sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Cambodia graduated from a low-income country to a lower-middle-income country in 2015. The Kingdom has set goals to become an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.”

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