Interview: ASEM summit reinforces multilateralism for shared economic recovery: Cambodian scholar

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 26, 2021
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PHNOM PENH, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The 13th Summit of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) has reinforced multilateralism, which is the key international principle to boost sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a Cambodian scholar said on Friday.

The two-day ASEM13, chaired by Cambodia via video link, concluded on Friday, vowing to strengthen multilateralism, promote post-COVID-19 socio-economic recovery, and improve ASEM connectivity.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said regional and global growth, sustainable development and prosperity cannot be achieved by unilateralism and protectionism, so multilateralism is very important.

"The ASEM13 has revitalized multilateralism, which is the important international principle to ensure global peace and stability and to achieve a sustainable, inclusive and resilient post-pandemic socio-economic recovery for all," he told Xinhua.

He said multilateralism is not just a diplomatic technique. It shapes a world order, a very specific way of organizing international relations based on cooperation, the rule of law, collective action and common principles.

"Rather than pitting civilizations and values against each other, all countries must build a more inclusive multilateralism," he said. "Only when we unite can we truly defeat the pandemic and achieve global economic recovery."

Besides the impact of trade protectionism, unilateralism and anti-globalization trends, the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached every part of the world, he said, adding that dealing with the havoc in region and the world caused by COVID-19 is not the responsibility of any single country.

"Collective efforts, actions and measures are vital to effectively fighting against this pandemic and achieving global economic recovery as well as enhancing partnership for sustainable and inclusive development based on principle of multilateralism," he said.

Meanwhile, Phea said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which is due to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2022, is a good example of multilateralism.

RCEP is a mega trade deal between 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and its free trade agreement partners of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

"RCEP will play a very important role in regional and global economic recovery. RCEP countries will greatly benefit from this important trade deal and can diversify their productions and markets," he said. "The trade deal will be a driving force of foreign direct investment to all RCEP countries, and the world's economy will also be boosted by this agreement."

On China's role in promoting multilateralism, Phea said China has played a very important role in maintaining and restoring confidence in multilateralism and globalization.

He said since the late 1970s, multilateralism and engagement with multiple regional and global forums has become a key pillar for China's economic, security and diplomatic practice.

The five principles of peaceful co-existence and holding the United Nations at the core of the international system anchor China's overall approach to multilateralism, he added.

The scholar said key multilateral efforts include the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

"The hallmark of contemporary China is its resolve to reject unilateralism and protectionism and pursue development opportunities with the rest of the world through inclusive, sustainable, balanced and beneficial economic globalization," he said.

"Beyond the Asia and Europe continents, China has played a crucial role in the establishment of a new multi-polar world, in promoting multilateralism and win-win cooperation for inclusive, sustainable growth and development, and in the fight against COVID-19," said the scholar. Enditem

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