The Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Foreign Ministers meeting opened in Phnom Penh Cambodia Wednesday, to a backdrop of looming, serious security issues that threaten to overshadow the three-day event.
The ongoing crisis in military-run Myanmar, is a key issue. the invasion of Ukraine and concerns over Beijing's growing ambitions in the region, as well as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan likely will also color their discussions.
Cambodian prime minister, and chair of the ASEAN hun sen also told attendee foreign ministers that Cambodia has initiated the establishment of a regional economic partnership secretariat in Phnom Penh.
This will be done in line to maximize the potential of intra-asean market and broader economic integration. the RCEP is a free trade agreement, among fifteen Asia-Pacific Nation, which came into effect in january 2022.
Meanwhile US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and China's Wang Yi are also taking part in the meetings representing asean's partner countries.
Myanmar is also a member of the regional bloc but it has not been invited to this series of meetings, after last year's military takeover, and the current executions of four political prisoners by the military ruler.
On the issue of Nancy Pelosi's Visit to Taiwan, and the angry reaction from Beijing, Cambodia's spokesperson earlier urged calm.
Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, met Cambodian Prime Minister, hun sen, on the sidelines of a regional forum of foreign ministers.
Lavrov was visiting Myanmar before arriving in Cambodia to attend the 55th asean ministerial meeting.