CHA Activities

 សកម្មភាពឆ្ពោះទៅកាន់ការបង្កើត សមាគមអ្នកប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រកម្ពុជា
Activities toward the establishment of the Cambodian Historians Association

សកម្មភាព នៃសមាគម អ្នកប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ កម្ពុជា ក្រោយពេលបង្កើត
Activities of the Cambodian Historians Association after the establishment

សកម្មភាពទី១ របស់សមាគម
(First activity of the Association)
កម្មវិធីស្រាវជ្រាវអំពី « ប្រវត្តិវិទ្យាល័យ ព្រះស៊ីសុវត្ថិ»
Research Program on “History of Sisowath High School”

Promoting China-ASEAN Socio-Cultural Cooperation
By Prof. Sorn Samnang, President of Cambodian Historians Association
Guizhou University, China, 15-17 September 2013

Prof. Sorn Samnang, 2nd from left
in China-ASEAN Cultural Intergrowth and Inclusiveness Development Forum
Guizhou University, Guizhou Province, China, 15-17 September 2013

1-China-ASEAN trust at the end of the Cold War

The Agreements on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict were signed in Paris on 23 October 1991 by Cambodia and 18 other nations in the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General. The agreements were the culmination of more than a decade of negotiations in which the Secretary-General had been closely involved from the outset.
This peaceful resolution reinforced Sino-ASEAN trust at the end of the Cold War. In the eyes of the ASEAN states, they could then approach all major powers involved in the region without alienating any of them. Therefore, China's push for multi-polarity coincided with ASEAN's promotion of regional security equilibrium. The ASEAN states were proud of their diplomatic achievements in the Cambodian settlement, and they appreciated that such achievements would have been impossible without China's cooperation. Indonesia, especially, realized that it could not act as co-chairman of the Paris Peace Conference without at least a working relationship with China.

2-China-ASEAN Cooperation before 2003
China attended the first ASEAN+3 summit in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia on 15 December 1997. At the meeting, the leaders reached consensus on the prospect for East Asia in the 21st century, and development and cooperation in the region. The then Chinese President Jiang Zemin delivered an important speech entitled "Join Hands in Cooperation and Build a Future Together," which reviewed the great changes and improvements in East Asian countries over the previous three decades. After the summit, the two sides issued the Joint Declaration of the People's Republic of China and ASEAN Summit, establishing guidelines for their relationship and common policies of good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust oriented to the 21st century.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin attending the 1st Informal China-ASEAN Summit
in Kuala Lumpur, December 1997

In the sixth ASEAN+3 Summit in Phnom Penh on 4 November 2002, the ASEAN leaders met separately with Premier Zhu Rongji of China. During the ASEAN-China Summit, they acknowledged the important and growing role of China in regional and world affairs. Premier Zhu outlined China's vision for strengthened ties with ASEAN, emphasizing the goal of establishing an ASEAN-China Free Trade Area within the next decade.

3-China-ASEAN Cooperation from 2003
China has participated assiduously in the ASEAN-led regional institutions like the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Plus dialogues. China became the first external signatory to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in 2003.
In the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Bali, Indonesia, on 8 October 2003, Chinese and ASEAN leaders declared that “the purpose of the establishment of a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity is to foster friendly relations, mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighborliness between China and ASEAN by deepening and expanding China-ASEAN cooperative relations in a comprehensive manner in the 21st century, thereby contributing further to the region's long-term peace, development and cooperation”.

China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity is a comprehensive and forward-looking cooperation focusing on politics, economy, social affairs, security and international and regional affairs. To this end, they agreed to further activate exchanges in science and technology, environment, education and culture as well as personnel interflow, and improve cooperation mechanisms in these areas. Efforts will also be made to enhance tourism cooperation and deepen understanding and friendship between the peoples of their countries.

In the Joint statement of China-ASEAN commemorative summit on 30 October 2006 in the "Year of Friendship and Cooperation between China and ASEAN" in Nanning, China to commemorate the Fifteenth Anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relations, the Leaders of ASEAN highly appreciated China's continued commitment to support ASEAN's community building efforts, including the implementation of the Plans of Action of the ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, Vientiane Action Program (VAP), the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and other ASEAN initiatives. In this context, ASEAN welcomed China's contribution of one million U.S. dollars to the ASEAN Development Fund (ADF) and China's funding assistance of one million U.S. dollars for IAI projects.

It is important to note that, the year 1991 is the turning point in the relations between China and ASEAN. Mr. Qian Qichen, the then Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister attended the opening session of the 24th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, which started dialogue process between China and ASEAN. The year 1997 is the watershed in the history of China and ASEAN relations.
On the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, leaders of ASEAN gathered in Kuala Lumpur on 15 December 1997 to reaffirm their commitment to promote regional cooperation in Southeast Asia in the spirit of equality and   partnership and thereby contribute towards peace, progress and prosperity in the region. They envisioned the entire Southeast Asia to be, by 2020, an ASEAN community conscious of its ties of history, aware of its cultural heritage and bound by a common regional identity. They saw vibrant and open ASEAN societies consistent with their respective national identities, where all people enjoy equitable access to opportunities for total human development regardless of gender, race, religion, language, or social and cultural background.
The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders on the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.

ASEAN EPG on Vision 2020
The ASEAN EPG (Eminent Persons Group) on Vision 2020 was convened in June 1999, with terms of reference that included developing a plan for a peaceful and stable Southeast Asia, making recommendations to create vibrant economies in ASEAN, and examining how to build a community of caring societies, as well as an outward looking ASEAN. Their recommendations on Social, Educational and Cultural field focus especially on promoting ASEAN community spirit among all peoples of ASEAN by (among others):
-     Setting up and promoting linkages among ASEAN cultural centers;
-     Enlisting the assistance of the media and business corporations in promoting the ASEAN community spirit;
-     ASEAN members should develop more and broader linkages among educational institutions at all levels;
-     ASEAN members with established common high standards in education, especially in science, mathematics and social sciences, assist other ASEAN members in improving and developing their curricula, with a view to raising the standards of education in the whole of ASEAN;
-     ASEAN members should prioritize on setting up programs and training institutes, especially for the "knowledge based economy";
-     The involvement of the business sector and civil society in fighting poverty;
-     Capacity building; health care and assistance; provision of community-based micro-credit facilities, etc..

Left to Right: Prof. Sorn Samnang (9th) with Singaporean Foreign Minister (7th)
and the 9 other Members of the ASEAN Eminent Persons Group on Vision 2020
At the inaugural meeting in Singapore in 1999

5-East Asian Vision Group
The East Asian Vision Group was created in October 1999 by the Summit of ASEAN + Three. Since its inauguration, the members of the East Asian Vision Group have discussed issues, developed ideas, and formulated agendas for East Asian cooperation. Throughout a comprehensive series of five meetings over two years, they have reached a consensus that they should envision East Asia as evolving from a region of nations to a bona fide regional community, a community aimed at world rig towards peace, prosperity and progress. They agreed on the necessity of such cooperation in all aspects of society including economic, political, security, environmental, social, cultural and educational areas. They also recognized that the East Asian cooperation process should move beyond government efforts to involve the broader society and the people of the region.
The main points in the recommendation of the East Asian Vision Group on Social and Cultural Cooperation are:

  • Implementation of a comprehensive human resource development program, focusing on the improvement of basic education, skills training and capacity building;
  • Promotion of regional identity and consciousness, and cooperation on projects in the conservation and promotion of East Asian arts and culture;
  • Establishment of an East Asia Education Fund to promote basic education, literacy programs, and skills training in the region.

Left to Right: Prof. Sorn Samnang (2nd) with other Members of the
East Asia Vision Group in Bali, Indonesia, February 2001

6-China-ASEAN Socio-Cultural Cooperation
In the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN commemorative summit on 30 October 2006, Chinese and ASEAN leaders agreed to strengthen their “socio-cultural cooperation” by encouraging greater cooperation between institutions of secondary and higher education; increasing youth exchanges by initiating the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Conference, China-ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association and China-ASEAN Young Civil Servants' Exchange Program as flagship projects; launching a prestigious China-ASEAN Scholarship; promoting scholarly exchanges; supporting the Center for ASEAN and China Studies; enhancing greater contacts between media personnel, academics and Track II institutions, parliamentarians and civil society; supporting the activities of the ASEAN Foundation in promoting greater people-to-people interaction; cooperating in public health to address the challenges of emerging infectious diseases; and supporting the realization, including projects and activities under the MoU between China and ASEAN on Cultural Cooperation, of the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community.
The above Joint Statement has paved the way for Promoting China-ASEAN Socio-Cultural Cooperation. Basing on the recommendations by the two above vision groups (ASEAN Vision 2020 and East Asian Vision), China-ASEAN Socio-Cultural Cooperation should be promoted through various concrete activities including “Joint Training Program on Socio-Cultural Studies” to promote regional identity and consciousness.

Socio-Cultural Cooperation should focus on poverty eradication and human development. Social inequities can threaten economic development and in turn undermine political regimes. Social instability can emerge from environmental scarcity or the inequitable distribution among stakeholders of the use of environmental assets. Failure to address these critical and persistent social issues can further cause both economic and political dislocations.
We need to build our region from the ground up, emphasize people-to-people networks and allow for the gradual development of a vibrant civil society and private sector. When there is participation - and people feel involved in public affairs, and feel that they are being listened to, we will have a society that is inclusive, just and equitable. Our region must not just remain relevant as an economic organization, but must endeavor to remain relevant as a community of nations devoted to peace, freedom and justice in an increasingly shaky world.


East Asia in 21st Century: Cultural Construction and
Cultural Exchanges
Peking University, April 18-19, 2006

Prof. Sorn Samnang (1st row and 5th from right to left) and
Scholars in East Asia participating in the International Conference on
East Asia in 21st Century: Cultural Construction and
Cultural Exchanges