Cambodia confirms ASEAN meeting moved from Bangkok

Other News Materials 26 October 2008 14:17 (UTC +04:00)

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong Sunday confirmed reports that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting set for Bangkok in December has been moved to the northern city of Chiang Mai amid political unrest.

Hor Namhong was the first non-Thai ASEAN official to officially confirm the move, returning from talks with Thai officials on the sidelines of the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing with a delegation headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, dpa reported.

Continued political disturbances in Bangkok have seen the nation's government house overrun. Chiang Mai is a major city with an international airport about 700 kilometres north of Bangkok.

Hor Namhong was speaking at a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport.

The 10-member ASEAN bloc comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and has forged strong diplomatic and trade links with India, South Korea, Japan and China.

The summit is scheduled for December 15-18, and Thailand has invited UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the heads of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, despite its internal woes.

Last month, Cambodia expressed doubt that the meeting could be held in Bangkok by Thailand, which currently chairs ASEAN in an annually rotated post. Hun Sen said Thailand's current political turmoil reflected badly on ASEAN, drawing fury from some Thai groups.

Thailand and Cambodia are currently engaged in a protracted border dispute which has several times threatened to turn into all-out military conflict since July, when an ancient Cambodian temple was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO over Thai objections.