Asean in the Mekong Sub-Regional Integration

As we are meeting today, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in all corners of the globe. The pandemic has triggered a severe global crisis in multiple aspects, ranging from public health to tourism, trade and the disruption of global supply chains. Indeed, we are witnessing unprecedented challenges. The global crisis with such a magnitude as COVID-19 reminds us that we are so interconnected and interdependent and that no country is safe unless every country is safe. In this context, we need more, not less, international cooperation and the promotion of multilateral system to form collective responses and concerted efforts to address the greatest challenges of our time. On top of that, the pandemic is reshaping the international order, which has already undergone major transformations resulting from the changing global balance of power and the intensifying strategic competition among great powers. Whatever the future of the international order might hold, small states in the region do not wish to take side. They only wish to live in peace and political stability whereby their economic development and social progress can continue to thrive. Therefore, we should not lock our mindset in troublesome realpolitik or zero-sum thinking, which have unfortunately generated countless tragedies in the history of mankind.

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Cheunboran Chanborey