Speech by Samdech Techo Hun Sen Opening of the BOAO Forum for Asia “Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities” [Unofficial Translation]


  • H.E. Li Baodong, Secretary General of the Boao Forum for Asia,
  • Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
  • H.E. Zhao Leji, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China,
  • Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen!

I have the great pleasure of speaking at the opening session of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) under the theme “Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities”. With over 20 years of existence, the BFA has proven to be an influential platform for shaping the regional and global agenda, bringing forward the voice and wisdom of Asia in solving difficult challenges while striving to create a peaceful and better world for all.

I would like to begin by congratulating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China as well as the successful conclusion of the Two Sessions namely the annual plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress and of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference which have identified key measures to advance Chinese modernization based on Chinese context and characteristics. The emphasis placed on technological and industrial innovation, notably through the development of “new productive forces”, as well as on the environment and sustainability show that China favors quality rather than absolute growth. For the region and the world, we have reasons to rejoice as China continues to pursue open economic and trade policies and expresses its firm commitment to building of a community of common destiny for mankind by promoting economic globalization that benefits inclusive development for all.

  • Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

As we speak, many parts of the world have not been relieved from wars and their devastating effects on innocent civilians as well as economies and trade across borders. The war in Ukraine is entering its third year and unfortunately we see no glimmer of peace on the horizon. The war between Israel and Hamas is still counting many casualties.

I am heartened by China’s active shuttle mediation seeking a ceasefire in Ukraine. We believe that such actions will set a good example for other responsible actors in the international community in accelerating negotiations and achieving ceasefires in Ukraine as well as in other parts of the world devastated by wars and conflicts without delay. When it comes to our region, there are many tipping points where conflict can erupt if Asian leaders do not consult and engage with each other to find ways to address their differences in meaningful and responsible manner.

My current concern is that geopolitics continues to dominate the global economic narratives. News about an economic slowdown or sectoral crisis in one country become a reason to declare victory in other parts of the world. Democratic elections have become an opportunity to make extreme promises, hostile actions, and selfish interests that undermine global interests and the rule-based international order. Furthermore, the current reconfiguration of supply chains does not encourage open, non-discriminatory and fair access to prosperity and technology transfer, but rather narrows the circle of friends with the determined objective of weakening the other countries.

  • Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

For Asia, it is the responsibility of all of us to maintain peace and security in the region to ensure that poverty alleviation does not reverse course and that future development with shared prosperity can be better fostered. Asia has made great strides in development and served as an engine of growth, especially during a difficult period when the global economy was at its lowest in three decades. Asia’s robust economic growth and position as the world’s manufacturing and trade epicenter have given it an important global role. Despite the recent global economic slowdown and supply chain reconfiguration, Asia as a whole is still expected to contribute 60% of global real GDP growth in the coming year.

In this regard, it is essential for our region to work together to maintain this positive momentum. Our actions should be guided by the principles of rule-based multilateralism that work for all of us, not just any particular group of nations. We should continue to strive for deeper integration and better connectivity, rather than​ decoupling and disruption. We must recognize that the principles of multilateralism have underpinned globalization, sustainable development and poverty reduction, tangible benefits for the world so far.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend China for its role as a global leader in shouldering a heavy responsibility in supporting the growth of other nations, from Asia to Africa to Latin America. The Belt and Road Initiative has supported the construction of public goods in different continents. These basic infrastructures are an integral part of the development and poverty reduction efforts for the people in the beneficiary countries, including Cambodia. We must recognize that China’s model of growth and development has allowed other nations to prosper with it, not at the expense of others.

It is our shared responsibility to foster common growth based on a multilateral, rule-based international order that gives all countries, large and small, the opportunity to shine, grow and have their voices heard. We must endeavor to uphold multilateralism that supports the interest of the entire community of nations so that the peoples of the world can enjoy peace and a better quality of life.

I would like to conclude my speech by wishing the Boao Forum for Asia continued success and fruitful deliberations in the interest of the world.

Thank You!