The Benefits of Cambodia joining ASEAN Essay

The Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN was founded on August 8, 1967 to promote regional, political and economic corporation for its member countries. Founder states included Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam joined during the 1990’s. In fact, Cambodia became a member of ASEAN on April 30th, 1999. Cambodia had requested to enter ASEAN so far, but the process was blocked by the civil war in the country which lasted for nearly 30 years.

Following the end of the civil war and the election of a new government in 1993, Cambodia officially applied to join ASEAN after hosting a meeting of directors-general from ASEAN countries in Phnom Penh. Cambodia is the tenth member that has weak economy. Over ten years ago, Cambodia made the politics and economics prosperous and since we are a part of this association. There are several benefits that Cambodia obtains from ASEAN. First of all, Cambodia is a small country and on its own it does not have a voice with other bigger countries.

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But when we join ASEAN, our voice is expanded ten times because when we speak, we speak with another nine countries – that’s the first benefit. Actually, ASEAN was established to prevent the super power countries that influence in the region of Southeast Asia. Besides, ASEAN wants to play an important role in the region. ASEAN member also commands far greater influence on Asia-Pacific trade, political, and security issues than its members could achieve individually.

The goal of ASEAN is to form as solidarity. Cambodia can protect its independence, sovereignty, and national interest since we are member of ASEAN and no countries are able to use their power on us. Cambodia can avoid super power countries that has desire to put pressure on us. Additionally, Acting more effectively in regional and international politics, Cambodia has raised its regional diplomatic profile, as well as its influences as an active participant in ASEAN summits and annual ministerial meetings.

Cambodia has been fully integrated in the ASEAN + 3 (China, Japan and South Korea) process since it took part in its first ASEAN+ 3 summit in Manila in 1999. Secondly, the world will know Cambodia more than before since we belonged to ASEAN. When we talk about ASEAN, we focus on ten member states that also include Cambodia. We make friends with the countries in the region and the world through ASEAN cooperation and its partners. Any countries that want to cooperate with ASEAN have to study about and work with all member states.

The world starts to know Cambodia a little bit after we stop the civil war for three decades. However, foreigners begin to hear about Cambodia a lot when there is ASEAN Summit and other meetings, especially being ASEAN Chair. Cambodia is a small country in which there are only 14 million people. Nobody knows us. Once we become ASEAN Chair so that everyone knows about us. ASEAN plus three, ASEAN plus six, and ASEAN-EU Meeting are the chance for Cambodia to do diplomacy with other countries outside ASEAN.

Cambodia has reputation on the international stage as we are the host and chairman of ASEAN Summit in case of 2002 and 2012. Cambodia has been active and playing an increasingly important role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional affairs politically and economically since it became a full member of ASEAN on April 30, 1999. Thirdly, Cambodian will get economic benefit from ASEAN. As a member of ASEAN, Cambodia has joined a market of 550 million people from 10 countries.

The country has speed up the integration of the Cambodia’s local economy into regional and global economy in an effort to reduce the development gaps among ASEAN’s new and old member countries. ASEAN tries to promote the integration through narrowing the development gap and benefit our ASEAN people including Cambodian. Cambodia, with a population of more than 14 million, is a least developed country among ASEAN, with GDP per capita at about 900 US dollars and about 31 percent people still living under the poverty line.

ASEAN plans to build economic community in which there will be free flow of goods and services, capital, investment, and skilled labor across member countries. In recent years, Cambodia has accelerated the speed of trade liberalization and free flows of goods and services both within the country and between Cambodia and other key partners in the region and the rest of the world. For example, trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand in 2011 was USD 3. 08 billion, up 21 percent year on year. The bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and Vietnam in 2011 was USD 2. 8 billion, up 55 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, Cambodia’s trade and economy cooperation with China has also increased steadily in recent years. According to the official figures, the trade volume between China and Cambodia in 2011 amounted to 2. 5 billion U. S. dollars, up 73. 5 percent compared to last year. Furthermore, the number of tourists from ASEAN come to Cambodia has grown, for there is no visa requirement. Since its establishment 40 years ago, ASEAN has gone a long way toward helping the economies of its member nations and facilitating trade and other transactions with other economies around the world.

The establishment of ASEAN has allowed its member nations the opportunity to combine economic ties and increase potential for transacting business with larger economies. In conclusion, Cambodia attached great importance to the relations with ASEAN member countries, and regarded ASEAN as a strategic window of opportunities to regain its regional role as well as promote its national interests. In fact, Cambodia gets many advantages from joining ASEAN like good diplomacy within region and outside, awareness of Cambodia social and cultural, and economic growth.

Although Cambodia is small, we had participated to settle international issue, in case of proposing Code of Conduct (COC) in 2002 related to South China Sea dispute between China and ASEAN members. Moreover, Cambodia is trying to develop its economy as well in order to reach the old members. Also, ASEAN has helped to develop Cambodia’s infrastructure, technology and information to reducing gap of all members. However, Cambodia still needs to build human resource to compete with member states and solve some problems that are facing, and then we will meet the prosperity as other developed countries in the region.

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