PHNOM PENH, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia can bridge the economies of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will help Cambodia's socio-economic development and diversify its export markets, the country's foreign minister said in a recent interview with Chinese media.
Cambodia has been a dialogue partner of the SCO since 2015, and "We have seen the SCO's growing potential for cooperation in the spheres of security and economy as well as other areas of cooperation including trade, investment, energy, tourism and anti-terrorism," said Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn.
The SCO members contribute massively to the world population and economy and together they present a world of opportunities for Cambodia. "At present, Cambodia is already benefiting significantly from increasing bilateral economic exchanges and development cooperation with China," said Sokhonn, adding that the SCO has identified specific areas of cooperation which mesh well with Cambodia's development policies and strategies.
Considering geographical proximity, the foreign minister said Cambodia can serve as a window to the Greater Mekong Subregion and ASEAN.
Sokhonn said the SCO's fundamental principles "are conformed to Cambodia's core principles of 'permanent neutrality' under its Constitution," adding that instead of intending to form any alliance or direct its actions against any sovereign entity, the SCO actively and consistently pursues dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, and stands for strict adherence to the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
He pointed out that these principles are aimed at maintaining peace and security, establishing partnerships between states, protecting national sovereignty and respecting the right to determine one's own destiny and path for political, socioeconomic and cultural development.
The SCO's security cooperation framework complements other regional security forums, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit in which Cambodia participates, said Sokhonn.
"Real security is sustainable peace and stability and realizing one's own security at the sacrifice of others is no longer acceptable. Thus, security cooperation within the SCO framework is of importance for a broader region which can benefit from the SCO collaborative efforts," he said.
Transnational criminal activities, such as terrorism, illegal migration, narcotics and illicit arms trafficking, require joint efforts across the border to be effectively addressed, and Cambodia can contribute proactively to the efforts of the SCO member states to respond to these security challenges.
"The SCO's security cooperation such as through multiple joint anti-terrorism exercises has effectively helped to curb the spread of terrorism, separatism and extremism in the region," Sokhonn said.
The minister said Cambodia, which can also benefit from the SCO security cooperation framework, is keen to share its vision and experience and contribute to the SCO's endeavor to maintain regional peace and stability.