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Shining on the global stage



With Cambodia set to host the high-profile Europe-Asia cooperation summit ASEM 2020 come November, Robert Hör of think tank KAS explains why he believes the meet could be crucial in setting Cambodia back on track on the global stage

Eight months to the day, Cambodia will have the opportunity to shine on the global stage as host of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting , set to be held in the capital Phnom Penh on November 16-17. In terms of the sheer number and diversity of national representatives who will be in attendance, the coming summit is set to be one of the biggest political events in Cambodia’s contemporary history.
ASEM provides a multi-level diplomatic platform for governments from 53 states who meet biennially to exchange ideas and views.

The main guiding principles of the platform are mutual trust, equality, an emphasis on equal partnership and a dual focus on high-level and interpersonal, informal connectivity. ASEM is understood as a soft institutional approach to cooperation that most Asian states prefer, as compared to the EU tendency to strong formalised institutions.
Cambodia stands to gain from ASEM by demonstrating its commitment to the 2020 theme, multilateralism and growth. Multilateralism opposes protectionism, zero sum mentalities and isolationism and builds on international treaties and conventions setting common rules. This shows that Cambodia, as a small country subject to rivalries between big powers, respects the fact that only a multilateral approach can confront global challenges like climate change, migration, cybercrime and maritime issues.

This article was written by Robert Hor

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