Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held in Phnom Penh virtually, chaired by Sokhonn. The representatives reiterated their commitment to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. The meeting was attended in person by foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Laos, and online by foreign ministers of Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam, while Myanmar did not designate a non-political representative for it.
Furthermore, the ministers reaffirmed the importance of strengthening ASEAN economic integration and the intra-ASEAN trade, investment and supply chain connectivity to enhance the region’s competitiveness, connectivity and resilience as outlined in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025.
Pertinent to highlight that Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is a mega trade agreement between 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and its five major trade partners of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The pact covers about 30 % of the world’s population and accounts for about 30% of global gross domestic product. Apart from RCEP, the ASEAN foreign ministers also discussed ways to boost the regional economy in the post-pandemic era. To facilitate the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the body also emphasized the importance of full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. The summit also discussed the Myanmar conflict and pledged resolve to ensure mitigate the major hurdles with reference to governance stability in the country.