The Volatile World Ahead

The Khmer Times, 23 January 2017

A new world order is unfolding quickly, underlined with high volatility, uncertainty and contradictions.
As the global economic system is stumbling and shaking, adaptive and transformative leadership becomes even more relevant in this unchartered world.
Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, has called for “a responsive and responsible leadership with a deeper commitment to inclusive development and equitable growth, both nationally and globally.
“It will also require collaboration across multiple interconnected systems, countries, areas of expertise and stakeholder groups with the aim of having a greater societal impact.”
Regional and global governance is one of the main issues according to the annual global risk report by the World Economic Forum. Global governance therefore needs deep reforms.
Economic inequality is the core global problem that needs to be addressed. One percent of the world’s population owns half of the global wealth, according to a report from Oxfam. Also, the world’s eight richest people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population.
“This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems,” the Oxfam report stresses.
The conventional wisdom is that in such a complex, interconnected and interdependent world, no country is able to succeed in pursuing isolationist and protectionist policy.
The populist wave against economic globalism has gained momentum from Europe to America, as evident in the Brexit votes and Donald Trump’s election victory.
The post-truth world, a divided world caused by emotional and populist politics, has unfortunately become the global trend. Lies and fake news are threatening the very foundations of democracy.
The world is calling for global leadership to stand up to protect the values and principles of inclusive, open and democratic global governance.
The world is surely going to face a rocky road ahead. The US and China are the two key actors in shaping and molding a new world order.
China appears to have taken the helm in defending economic globalization and is thriving to be the vanguard of a liberal economy order, while the US is doing the opposite.
Addressing world leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the necessity of building an open and inclusive global economic architecture.
“We must remain committed to developing global free trade and investment, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation through opening up and saying no to protectionism,” said Mr. Xi.
“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” he added.
A future trade war between the US and China would be a lose-lose scenario. A global economic recession may recur.
The US under President Trump will restructure the liberal economic order driven by the US over the last seven decades.
Mr. Trump has generated a wave of anti-globalization and an anti-establishment movement through pursuing far-right political ideology, protectionism and populist nationalism.
Mr. Trump’s “America First” ideology and his pledge to “Make America Great Again” has unnerved the international community and America’s allies. Such policies will only serve short-term interests.
In Mr. Trump’s rather radical and blunt inaugural speech, he promised to build a new era for the US by implementing “Buy American and Hire American.”
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” he said.
Mr. Trump’s policy inhibits flaws and skepticism. The annual report on global risks by the Euasia Group in 2017 predicts that the world is facing a “period of geopolitical regression” and entering “the most volatile political risk environment in the post-war period”.
Mr. Trump’s policies will lead to the end of “a 70-year geopolitical era of Pax Americana, one in which globalization and Americanization were tightly linked, and American hegemony in security, trade and the promotion of values provided guardrails for the global economy,” the report argues.
To what extent can Mr. Trump realize his policy? Some observers doubt he will remain in power for his four-year term.
The approval ratings before his swearing-in was only 40 percent, making Mr. Trump the least popular president in four decades. Former President Barack Obama’s approval rating before taking the oath in 2009 was 84 percent.
Women’s marches against Mr. Trump, who is accused of being “sexist” and against women’s rights and dignity, have been in full swing. The movement started in the US and spread all around the world, with the objective of raising awareness of women’s rights.

Singapore a Regional Role Model

The Khmer Times, 12 January 2016

Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam has wrapped up his four-day state visit to Cambodia this week with two agreements signed and other commitments to further enhance the relationship between the two countries and their people.
Singapore has played a significant role in Asean community building, particularly in narrowing the development gaps within Asean.
The enhanced partnership between Cambodia and Singapore will positively contribute to a united Asean community.
But diplomatic and political relations have been disturbed by differences on the South China Sea issue. In the past, some senior Singaporean diplomats accused Cambodia of being a client state of China and preventing Asean from reaching a consensus on the South China Sea.
Singapore has been under unprecedented pressure from China for its stand on the South China Sea.
Hong Kong authorities seized Terrex Infantry Carrier vehicles belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces November last year, which were being shipped back to Singapore after taking part in joint exercises with Taiwan.
Some believe this was China’s lesson for Singapore.
Singapore has been keen to further engage and tighten its comprehensive relationships with Cambodia and Laos, two close allies of China, to shore up Asean’s position in dealing with a more assertive China.
However, after the surprise thawing of ties between China and the Philippines, the situation in the South China Sea has seemed to cool down, at least for a while.
Such geopolitical changes are conducive for trust building between the direct claimants and other regional stakeholders.
Cambodia-Singapore relations were established on August 10, 1965. Cambodia was among the first countries to recognize Singapore’s independence after its separation from Malaysia in 1965.
After three decades of successful state building and nation building, Singapore became the rising star of Southeast Asia in the early 1990s.

Since 1992, about 13,000 Cambodian officials have attended training courses in Singapore. People-to-people ties have significantly strengthened and been nurtured over the decades.
Singapore is now one of Cambodia’s top five investors and top 10 trading partners.
A small city-state in Southeast Asia, Singapore has successfully built a modern country with effective and efficient state organs.
Now Singapore is the most advanced economy in Southeast Asia with a per capita income of more than $50,000, about 40 times higher than that of Cambodia.
Strong and clean public institutions, an innovation-driven private sector and a life-long learning society are the three main contributing factors to the success of Singapore.
Knowledge diplomacy, defined as the use of knowledge resources as a diplomatic means to persuade or convince others, constitutes the foundation of Singapore’s foreign policy and soft power projection.
The city-state has much to offer when it comes to knowledge and innovation, particularly in the education and healthcare sectors.
Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world, in which students’ performances rank among the top in international education tests in mathematics and science at both the primary and secondary levels.
In addition, Bloomberg ranked Singapore’s healthcare system as the most efficient healthcare system in the world in 2014, taking into consideration several factors such as life expectancy, the cost of healthcare as a percentage of GDP and total medical expenditure for each person.
Singapore also has great knowledge resources to share with her Asean member countries. Capacity building, knowledge sharing and people exchanges are needed to promote an inclusive and sustainable Asean community.
Education and healthcare are the two pillars of socio-economic development of any society. The level of public spending and investment in these two sectors defines the future direction of a country.
Speaking at a state banquet hosted by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, Mr.Tan said: “Technical cooperation and educational exchanges form another important pillar of cooperation between Singapore and Cambodia.
“Like Cambodia, Singapore believes that human resource development is an essential ingredient for growth.”
Singapore is going to further support Cambodia in the education and healthcare sectors.
Two sets of agreements were signed, including a memorandum of understanding between the Cambodian Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and Singapore’s Institute of Technology Education.
The other was between Cambodia’s Calmette Hospital and Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

A Milestone Year for Asean

The Khmer Times, 09 January 2017

This year will be a milestone for Asean as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in August.
While some remarkable achievements have been made over the last 50 years, some doubts have been cast on the future relevance and resilience of this regional organization, within the context of rising global and regional uncertainty and geopolitical pressure.
Based on its past track record, Asean will likely remain a key driver in maintaining regional peace and stability, promoting an inclusive and open regionalism, and ideally, being a role model in building a truly people-centered regional community.
Asean, which was created in 1967, managed to survive the Cold War, navigated through the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, gradually enlarged its membership, cultivated trust and built dialogue partnerships will all the major powers and shaped international relations norms based on the Asean Way, which is consultation, consensus, peaceful coexistence, sovereign equality and non-interference in domestic affairs.
However, 2017 will be a critical year for Asean to prove itself as a relevant institution as the global wave of populist nationalism, protectionism and extremism wobbles liberal international systems from Europe to America.
Brexit and Donald Trump’s America are threatening the very foundations of the liberal economic order created after the end of World War II.
Asean leaders must reassure their people and the world that inclusive and open regionalism is the way forward.
Asean needs to work harder to narrow the development gaps between and within the member states, strengthen a people-oriented and people-centered Asean and improve regional governance.
“To further address the social ills confronting our society, inclusive economic growth must be ensured,” wrote Ambassador Enrique Manalo, the undersecretary for policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, in Asean Focus in December.
As the rotating chair of Asean this year, Ambassador Manalo added that the Philippines aims to achieve the betterment of the lives of the Asean citizens through “initiatives that significantly impact on their lives; and envisions Asean’s greater international engagement to advance common interests.”
Asean needs continuous reforms to adapt and stay ahead of the curve of rising global uncertainty and unpredictability and the fast-changing geopolitics, geo-economics, social transformation and technological revolution.
The dilemma for Asean lies in its non-interference principle. On the one hand, a certain agenda by its members is needed to deepen regional integration, but on the other hand Asean member states firmly adhere to the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference.
It is necessary for Asean to find a middle ground to forge regional consensus and deepen regional integration. Asean should not aim to become a supra-national institution, but a functioning inter-governmental organization with greater flexibility in decision-making processes.
One of the expected outputs this year is the completion of the framework of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which is critical to fostering Asean’s unity and centrality and deepening relations between Asean and China.
The realization of the COC will prove that Asean and China can work together in the spirit of friendship and partnership to manage and resolve their differences on a bilateral and multilateral basis.
The Asean Charter adopted in 2007 is a benchmark of envisaging a rules-based Asean. But it needs to be reviewed to reflect the new realities of Asean and the region.
Asean needs to emphasize “putting Asean people first.”
Some principles of the charter have not been effectively implemented or neglected by some Asean member states, particularly with regards to human rights, democracy, fundamental freedoms, good governance and the rule of law.
So Asean needs to have a more effective enforcement or compliance mechanism.
Some elements that need revision are the reduction of the annual Asean summit meetings from twice to once, the endorsement of an Asean human rights body with specific tasks and responsibilities, adding “people-centered” to “people-oriented” and consensus-based decision-making.
The failure of Asean to reach a consensus in dealing with the Cambodia-Thailand border conflict in 2008 and 2011 and the failure of the 45th Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh to issue a joint statement in 2012, due to differences over the South China Sea issue, present an urgency for Asean leaders to revise Asean’s decision-making mechanism.
The Asean Minus X formula needs to be adopted where consensus cannot be reached, particularly with regards to complex and sensitive issues.
Flexible decision-making mechanisms will provide room for Asean to react and respond more effectively and efficiently to emerging regional issues and challenges of common concern.

The Future for Cambodia

The Khmer Times, 26 December 2016

For the global community, 2016 was the unthinkable year. Brexit and Donald Trump’s election victory have been shaking the world’s systems and order. Terrorism has haunted many parts of the world.
No country is immune to terrorist threats. The world is going through a phase of populist nationalism, protectionism and extremism.
For Cambodia, 2016 has been a year of mixed output upset by the ebb and flow of the relationship between the two main political parties.

 

The emerging challenges relate to social and economic issues stemming from unsustainable natural resources management and corruption.
Social justice and freedom of speech is the main social issue as well. The killing of well known and well respected public intellectual Kem Ley, in which justice has not been found, has stirred public distrust of the justice system.
Domestic politics is ugly and messy with significant regression on human rights and democracy. Political parties are consolidating their position ahead of the commune elections next year and general elections in 2018.
The political compromise between the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), with the royal pardon of interim CNRP president Kem Sokha and the release of his subordinate, has created a new political environment more suited for political dialogue between the two main parties.
However, there is no sign of advancing and institutionalizing the political dialogue into a permanent mechanism to handle future political tensions and conflicts. It is perhaps just a temporary political modus operandi to test each other’s stand.
The CPP is striving to gain political points through weakening the leadership and organizational structure of the CNRP and speeding up reforms to win the hearts of the people, which in turn will help secure its victory in the upcoming elections. The CPP has the political will to reform state institutions, but things are moving very slowly.
The CNRP is galvanizing its supporters at home and abroad by promising change and giving hope. Meanwhile, it also tries to inform the public that the leadership structure of the party remains strong and that the unity between party leader Sam Rainsy and Sokha is unbreakable.
The main agenda for the upcoming elections relates to social and economic issues such as rampant corruption, widening inequality, inefficient public services and justice-associated issues.
The people are concerned about factors directly affecting their livelihoods and well-being. They are looking for leaders who have clear policies, strategic action plans and leadership that delivers concrete results.
Specific issues of concern are decent wages for factory workers, decent incomes for farmers, social protection for the vulnerable and marginalized groups and prolonged action on deforestation.
Although there is political turbulence and tension, economic performance remains strong with a growth rate of about 7 percent, making Cambodia the second fastest growing economy in Asean after Myanmar.
However, the development gap between the rich and the poor, between urban and rural areas, is worrisome.
State institutions and political leadership are accountable for inclusive and sustainable development.
On the foreign policy front, Cambodia made some remarkable achievements.
The diplomatic highlights were the state visits of Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in June, Chinese President Xi Jinping in October and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in December.
Prime Minister Hun Sen made two state visits to Timor Leste in August and to Vietnam in December. Also, Cambodia hosted the 9th Summit of the Cambodia-Lao PDR-Vietnam Development Triangle and the 2nd Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group in December.
Cambodia’s foreign policy has become more proactive and robust. Economic pragmatism and hedging are the core strategies for a small country.
To serve its national interests, which are defined in terms of economic development and poverty reduction, peace and stability and national identity and prestige, Cambodia is expanding and diversifying its strategic partners, deepening bilateral relations and strengthening multilateral institutions.
Living in an increasingly uncertain and competitive world, Cambodia needs leaders who know how to transform the international environment into a source of national development and who can effectively internalize national forces to grasp opportunities and deter risks and insecurity.
Looking ahead, Cambodia needs the right political chemistry to overcome the shortcomings and challenges and to generate opportunities for the people. National reconciliation and unity are the foundations of long-term peace and development.

Hun Sen’s Visit to Hanoi

The Khmer Times, 21 December 2016

At the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen arrived in Hanoi yesterday to kick off a two-day state visit to further deepen traditional ties between the two countries and their people.
His last official visit to Vietnam took place three years ago in late December 2013.
Mr. Hun Sen was accompanied by Deputy PM and Minister of National Defense General Tea Banh, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhhon, Senior Minister and Chairman of Cambodia’s National Border Committee Var Kim Hong, Minister of Cults and Religion Him Chhem, Minister of Rural Development Ouk Rabun, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon as well as other high-ranking government officials.
As both countries are preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, more cooperation projects and activities are going to take place from early next year. The most remarkable event will be the inauguration of the Long Binh-Chrey Thom Bridge which will connect the two nations.
Cambodia-Vietnam relations have been shaken in recent years by the rising power and influence of China in the region. Cambodia has pivoted to China for economic and security interests, putting Vietnam in a difficult position with Cambodia over the South China Sea issue.
However, Vietnam remains optimistic that its relations with Cambodia will remain strong and firm regardless of geopolitical changes. One of Vietnam’s core national interests is to ensure strong traditional ties with its two small immediate neighbors.
The challenges posed by power rivalry between China and the US in Southeast Asia have forced small countries to stick together and hedge against major powers for their long-term survival.
Vietnam has been striving to assert its leadership role in the Mekong region through the promotion of sub-regional cooperation and integration. The Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam development triangle is perhaps the platform for these countries to consolidate their relationship.
Recently the largest Vietnamese telecom corporation, Viettel, has introduced a free roaming service in the three countries to promote people-to-people ties as well as to lubricate business communications with the region.
Socio-cultural exchanges between the two countries will be further significantly strengthened to promote mutual understanding between the two peoples.
The “Vietnam threat” has been a much talked about subject in Cambodian politics. The opposition parties have accused the ruling CPP of being a puppet of Hanoi. And the politicization of the perception of a “Vietnam threat” has gained new momentum since the last general election in 2013.
Border issues and Vietnamese immigrants in Cambodia are the two thorny, sensitive issues in Cambodian politics. The Cambodian government has been accused of ceding territory to Vietnam and allowing Vietnamese to migrate easily to the Kingdom.
Regardless of those accusations, political attacks and the rising political cost attached to them, Mr. Hun Sen seems to remain committed to maintaining his deep personal ties and traditional friendship with Vietnam.
He firmly believes that Cambodia will not be able to maintain peace and development unless it has good and stable relations with all its immediate neighbors.
The principles of mutual respect, mutual interest, equal partnership, peaceful co-existence and non-interference in domestic affairs have been the guiding principles of relations.
Addressing hundreds of Vietnamese veterans on December 27, 2013, Mr. Hun Sen said that he would never forget the sacrifices that Vietnamese people made to liberalize his country from the Khmer Rouge regime.
Being the fifth largest investor and third largest trading partner, Vietnam is no doubt an important economic partner for Cambodia.
The total investment capital from Vietnam is $2.86 billion. The two-way trade volume topped $3.37 billion in 2015 and $2.38 billion by the end of October this year.
The trade volume between the two countries was expected to reach $5 billion in 2015, but failed mainly due to market factors. Transport and logistics connectivity needs to be improved to facilitate trade and investment.

Cambodia-Philippines Ties Improve

The Khmer Times, 16 December 2016

After years of frayed relationships due to the deep differences over South China Sea issue, Cambodia and the Philippines have entered a new chapter of improved ties after the two-day state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte this week.
Both countries expressed their commitment to enhancing diplomatic, economic and security cooperation.
Four agreements were reached on tourism, cross-border crime which includes drug trafficking, labor protection and sports.
The Philippines will also offer 60 scholarships to Cambodian students and government officials next year.
There will also be more flights between the two countries to promote tourism. Last year, about 75,000 Filipinos visited Cambodia and about 2,500 Cambodian tourists went to the Philippines.
“We will focus on air connectivity. We would like to have a direct flight from Phnom Penh to the Philippines because right now we don’t have one,” said Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.
Cooperation on agriculture is expected to gain new steam in the coming years. Technical cooperation on improving rice seeds as well as the development of 100 percent Filipino-owned rice warehouses in Cambodia will further push rice production and exports to the Philippines.
“Truly, I am humbled and honored your majesty. This is a reaffirmation of a long-standing friendship that augurs well for our bilateral relations,” Mr. Duterte told King Norodom Sihamoni.
“Ours is a friendship based on mutual respect and support. It is a friendship that can withstand the challenges of an evolving regional and international environment,” he added.
The visit also contributes to strengthening Asean community building. As the chair of Asean next year, the Philippines has a strong interest in advancing Asean integration and a central role in shaping the evolving regional architecture.
“As close neighbors, we have a common stake in keeping Asean strong, relevant and responsive. This is especially critical at this time when forces are shaping the regional architecture in East Asia,” Mr. Duterte said.
His strategic shift towards China and his firm stand against external interference, particularly from the United States, has drawn admiration and support from Prime Minister Hun Sen.
A mutual understanding had been forged after the informal bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Vientiane in early September.
Mr. Hun Sen later publicly shared his views on Mr. Duterte.
He said: “I and the Philippine president understand each other” and “we have the same character.”
Mr. Duterte told the prime minister he was tired of interference in his country.
Authoritarian leadership styles and independent foreign policies with a firm position against external pressures are common traits of the two leaders. They also pursue a hedging strategy, which is regarded as the determinant of the survival of a small state.
Well-known Malaysian scholar Cheng-Chwee Kuik, an expert on hedging, argues that “the enduring uncertainty at the systemic level has compelled the states to hedge by pursuing contradictory, mutually counteracting transactions of ‘returns-maximizing’ and ‘risk-contingency’ options.”
“Well, I must tell you that Prime Minister Hun Sen has deep admiration for President Duterte,” Philippine Ambassador Christopher Montero was quoted as saying in the Philippine Star newspaper.
“He has expressed it publicly in the past. He sees in him an ally in terms of standing up against Western countries in so far as non-interference in internal affairs as far as the state is concerned.”
Their shared views on China as the most important economic partner, especially providing development aid without strings attached, also contributes to a strategic convergence between the two.
Although uncertainty remains, the improved relations between the Philippines, China and Cambodia creates a conducive environment for the region to reach a consensus on the South China Sea issue.
The realization of the Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea is fundamental to confidence building, preventive diplomacy and conflict management.
It would be a milestone in the Asean-China partnership and a great achievement for the Philippines as the rotating chair of Asean if they could conclude the COC next year.

Cambodia’s Political Detente

The Khmer Times, 12 December 2016

After more than one year of political tension and strained relationships, the two main political parties, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), have recently reached a political détente.
The opportunity for both parties to build a solid political bridge is now open. This window of opportunity may close anytime unless there is genuine political will and a concrete plan to move the dialogue forward in good faith.
The “culture of dialogue” between the two parties has resumed, although it remains murky and its future is not clear.
It is a new beginning perhaps for both parties to build trust and confidence, which are the foundations of political reconciliation and national unity.
Cambodian politics has been trapped in what some call “the disease of main actors,” and the loop of political violence and a zero-sum game. To get rid of this loop, Cambodia needs to have a resilient political system that can sustain political order.
The ruling party has used a “sticks and carrots” strategy and sometimes “divide and weaken” approach against its opponent. And the opposition party normally exerts both domestic and international pressure to challenge the establishment.
In a democratic society, different ideas and approaches are common. But those differences should not be allowed to breed political violence.
What are the main factors leading to such a political compromise?
National unity is the core of national strength. Unless national reconciliation and unity are realized, a nation is not able to maintain peace and stability, develop and prosper.
Both main political parties seem to have genuine political will in resuming political dialogue, promoting national reconciliation and enhancing Cambodia’s role on the international stage. However, there is no clear mechanism or institution, at least at this point, to ensure the continuity of such dialogue.
Due to decades of political decay and instability, Cambodia has lagged behind its neighboring countries in terms of socio-economic development and international prestige. The opportunities lost are many if Cambodian society becomes more politically polarized.
Cambodians from all walks of life are tired of going through prolonged political tensions and conflicts. Cambodian youth aged from 15 to 30, which accounts for more than 30 percent of the population, are future-oriented and outward looking.
They wish to see a strong and responsible political leadership that can move the country forward with a clear vision and a capacity to generate opportunities.
The international support and constructive intervention also count in enabling political dialogue between the two parties. The international community wishes to see political reconciliation in the Kingdom.
What are the repercussions? Such a political atmosphere will create a conductive environment for the commune elections in 2017 and general elections 2018.
After months of self-detainment at his opposition party’s headquarters, Kem Sokha has emerged to be a tough leader equipped with a reconciliatory posture.
His popularity and political powerbase have increased largely thanks to his firm position, perseverance and patience.
Mr. Sokha is now the core counterpart of Prime Minister Hun Sen in a renewed “culture of dialogue” between the two parties.
The friction between Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Sokha may erupt unless a clear and stable power structure and decision-making mechanisms are developed. The leadership structure of the opposition CNRP is quite vulnerable to internal power struggles and external interventions.
The remaining question is whether opposition leader Sam Rainsy will be allowed to return to Cambodia to lead his party in the upcoming elections.
It seems at this moment that the likelihood of a royal pardon for him is really slim. He may not be given another opportunity like the one he received before the election in 2013.
Will the presence of Mr. Rainsy matter in the upcoming elections? Will the CNRP lose votes against the backdrop of the absence of its president?
Will the elections be fair and inclusive? These will be the subjects of another round of political games.
Although there are many remaining questions and different speculation, the big picture is that the political dialogue is expected to develop a resilient political institution that can weather future political storms or turbulence.
The wishful thinking is that the dialogue will generate a common vision and a concrete roadmap to transform Cambodia into a role model of sustainable development and liberal democracy in the Mekong region.