ASEAN’s ten member states are home to 650 million people. For Germany and the EU, cooperation with the organisation is an important factor for strengthening the rules-based order, climate change mitigation and free trade. This year, Cambodia holds the chairmanship of ASEAN. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock today met Prak Sokhonn, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia. Their talks centred on cooperation with ASEAN, the crisis in Myanmar and bilateral cooperation, not least in climate change mitigation, as well as on the situation of human rights and civil society in Cambodia. This was the two countries’ first bilateral meeting at foreign minister level since 1995.
ASEAN: Partner for multilateralism and a rules-based order
ASEAN is the key regional organisation in the Indo-Pacific. The EU and ASEAN launched a Strategic Partnership last year, and Germany, too, works closely with the organisation, convinced that multilateral, rules-based cooperation is the best way to overcome shared challenges. This is particularly true in the Indo-Pacific region, where geostrategic confrontation is growing. In this context, stability in the region and the freedom of sea routes are important for Germany. For this reason, Germany’s Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific specifically state that Germany wants to expand both its engagement in the region and its partnership with ASEAN.
Developments in Myanmar
A year on from the coup by the military junta in Myanmar, the country is still in the midst of a serious political and humanitarian crisis. The military is using brutal violence against the population. Germany supports ASEAN’s efforts, along with the UN, to find a political solution on the basis of the Five-Point Consensus. Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn was recently appointed as the ASEAN Special Envoy for Myanmar.
Partnership with Cambodia
Germany has actively supported Cambodia through development cooperation since the early 1990s, focusing on promoting civil society and strengthening rural development. Germany is also engaged in humanitarian mine clearance and in reconciliation projects, and supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.