JAKARTA (Reuters) – New Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet on Monday set out his vision of elevating the Southeast Asian country to the high-income category by 2050 in his first public remarks at an international forum since taking office.
The 45-year-old took power from his father Hun Sen last month after a one-sided general election in which all opposition parties were barred.
Speaking at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic forum in the Indonesian capital, the Western-educated leader said Cambodia has recently launched an overarching national economic vision to “protect the nature of the hard-won peace and accelerate national development to to reach”. Milestone to become a high-income country by 2050.”
The vision includes the development of human capital, the digital economy as well as inclusivity and sustainability, he said, calling it the “Pentagon strategy”.
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In a country once torn by decades of wars, Cambodia has now emerged as a lower-middle-income country with economic growth rates of 7%, he said.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s annual ASEAN summit, the Westpoint graduate and four-star general acknowledged an intensifying geopolitical rivalry between major powers, which he said is putting pressure on “peace, security and prosperity for ASEAN as a whole.”
Noting that “war cannot be ended by war,” Hun Manet called on ASEAN and the international communities to resist threats of violence against a sovereign state, saying ASEAN and the United Nations must “work in the spirit of… maintain independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. and non-interference”.
Cambodia’s parliament confirmed Hun Manet as prime minister in August. His father, Hun Sen, ruled Cambodia for almost four decades, a period analysts say was marked by increasing autocracy, the suppression of political opposition and the closure of a free press.
Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-reigning leaders, said he expects his son to continue his leadership style and remain in politics himself.
(Reporting by Kate Lamb; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Nick Macfie)
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