In this July 8, 2012 file photo, a Cambodian police officer (right) walks past the ASEAN logo in front of the Peace Palace during the 45th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in Phnom Penh. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)
SIEM REAP — Cambodia's defense minister Tea Banh on Tuesday called for collective efforts and solidarity to address key challenges to security in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
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In his opening remarks of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat, Banh said as the region has been recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and moving towards a new normal, the current security landscape in the region and around the world remains fragile and increasingly uncertain.
There are so many perils that seriously threaten the security and harmony of Cambodia's region and its people
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"We face simultaneously so many perils that seriously threaten the security and harmony of our region and our people," Banh said.
"All these challenges highlight the need for collective efforts and a strong sense of solidarity among the ASEAN defense establishments to jointly address such challenges," he said, adding that "It is obvious that no country can cope with global challenges alone."
Banh, also one of the Cambodian deputy prime ministers, said this year's ADMM and related meetings under the theme of "Solidary for Harmonized Security" reaffirmed collective commitments in responding to challenges in the region.
He believes that the ADMM Retreat will strengthen joint commitments to the unity and centrality of ASEAN, and ensure that the ADMM remains in the driving seat in every aspect of its engagement with external partners.
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He added that over the past 16 years, the ADMM has become a useful platform for strategic dialogue, confidence-building and regional cooperation to maintain the peace, security, stability and prosperity of ASEAN.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.