Southeast Asian leaders call for unity amid global tensions

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian leader Hun Sen called for unity on Sunday, telling a rally including Russia, China and the United States that current global tensions have taken their toll on everyone.

The Prime Minister, whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said at the opening of the East Asia Summit that it was in the interest common people of the world to cooperate in the peaceful resolution of differences.

The comments come as regional tensions remain high between the United States and China over the growing regional aspirations of Taiwan and Beijing, and as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global supply chains, driving up energy and food prices far beyond Europe.

Without referring to any nation by name, Hun Sen said he hoped the leaders would embrace a “spirit of unity in upholding open and inclusive multilateralism, pragmatism and mutual respect to address existential and strategic challenges. that we all face”.

“Many current challenges and tensions have hampered our past hard-won efforts to promote sustainable development and caused greater hardship in people’s lives,” he said as he opened the meeting, which is taking place alongside the summit. leader of the ASEAN group.

Attendees included US President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and it comes just a day before Biden’s highly anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Bali.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also attended the meetings, which also included the leaders of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and others.

On Saturday, Biden pledged the United States would work with ASEAN, telling leaders of the strategically vital coalition that “we will build a better future that we all want to see” in the region where U.S. rival China s is also trying to expand. its hold.

He promised to work together to build a region “free and open, stable and prosperous, resilient and secure”.

“I look forward to continuing our work with ASEAN and with all of you to deepen peace and prosperity across the region to solve the challenges of the South China Sea in Myanmar and find innovative solutions to the common challenges,” Biden said, citing climate. and health security among areas of collaboration.

Li Keqiang, meanwhile, told a meeting of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea that amid a “turbulent” global security situation, “unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise, economic and financial risks are on the rise, and global development is facing unprecedented challenges.” ”

As major East Asian economies, Li said the group should “remain committed to promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and beyond, and improving the well- to be of the population”.


Rising reported from Bangkok

David Rising and Sopheng Cheang, The Associated Press


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