Phnom Penh, Cambodia
3 April 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III and other ASEAN leaders met at the Opening Ceremony of the 20th ASEAN Summit and the Celebration of the 45th Anniversary of ASEAN at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh City.

Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia announced the official opening of the summit and expressed his acceptance of the chairmanship of ASEAN 2012. In his opening statement, the Prime Minister said that after more than four decades of development, the region today has become a closely-integrated political and economic entity, an influential player in Asia, and an indispensable partner of major countries and organizations in the world.

Despite the achievements and success of ASEAN, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the community is facing some challenges such as food and energy security, climate change and disasters, terrorism, transnational crimes and maritime safety among others. He added that the ongoing social and political turmoil in Middle East and North Africa remains a threat to global security and exerting an upward pressure on the high price of oil. Thus, these require the ASEAN community to double its efforts to promote further growth and improve equitable distribution of the fruits of growth among member countries.

Prime Minister Hun Sen discussed the “Phnom Penh Agenda” which spells out ASEAN’s priorities for 2012 which includes the paying of special attention to strengthening the mechanism for ensuring financial stability in the region, to prioritize the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 and to further promote cooperation in the agriculture sector by focusing on boosting productivity and agriculture diversification.

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