Cambodia will fully support the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to become the 11th member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year or next year, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday.
Hun Sen made the remarks during a 30-minute meeting with the visiting President of Timor-Leste, Jose Ramos-Horta at the Peace Palace.
“Cambodia fully supported Timor-Leste to become the 11th member of ASEAN,” said Hun Sen during the meeting. “Cambodia’s support is regardless Timor-Leste is a small or big, poor or rich country, but to reflect the equal rights of the countries in the region.”
Hun Sen expressed his hope that Timor-Leste will be able to join the association this year or next year.
Meanwhile Jose Ramos-Horta said that today Timor-Leste is full of peace and stability, and its economy has a growth of over ten percent since 2007.
He added that the country now has no external debt, instead, it has money surplus deposited in the bank.
“Therefore, the Timor-Leste’s request to enter the ASEAN will not be a burden for any country in the bloc,” said Jose Ramos- Horta. “Timor-Leste’s intention to join ASEAN is to integrate into the ASEAN region and to strengthen and expand regional cooperation.”
Timor-Leste submitted a formal application on March 4 to join the ASEAN to the current chair of Indonesia.
Koy Kuong, the spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry, said after the meeting that Cambodia and Timor-Leste also pledged to cooperate on oil and gas sector and Cambodia will send a delegation to study about the management of oil and gas in Timor- Leste.
Jose Ramos-Horta, accompanied by Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Gil Da Costa Alves, arrived here on Tuesday morning for a three-day state visit.
Earlier in the day, he was granted a royal audience to King Norodom Sihamoni, and he will pay courtesy calls on Cambodia’s Senate President Chea Sim, the National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Wednesday.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.