Activities of Secretary-General in Cambodia, 11–14 November

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from Egypt, on the afternoon of Friday, 11 November.

That evening, he took part in the group photo of the Heads of State of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  This was followed by his remarks at the opening session of the ASEAN-United Nations Summit, in which he told leaders that geopolitical divides are contributing to global insecurity, triggering new conflicts and making it increasingly difficult to end old ones.  He also warned that there is a growing risk that the global economy will be divided into two parts, led by the two biggest economies — the United States and China.

“A divided global economy, with two different sets of rules, two dominant currencies, two internets and two conflicting strategies on artificial intelligence, would undermine the world’s capacity to respond to the dramatic challenges we face,” he said, adding that this decoupling must be avoided at all costs and that ASEAN member States are particularly well-placed to help bridge it.  (See Press Release SG/SM/21580.)

The next morning, the Secretary-General met with the United Nations country team at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices.  He then returned to the ASEAN-United Nations Summit where he had a press encounter.  In his remarks, the Secretary-General said the situation in Myanmar is an unending nightmare for the people of that country and a threat to peace and security across the region.  He urged the authorities of Myanmar to listen to their people, release political prisoners, and get the democratic transition back on track immediately.  That is the only way to stability and peace.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General held a series of bilateral meetings including with Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, and Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia.

In the evening, he attended the gala dinner with other world leaders.

The next day, the Secretary-General had an audience with His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia.  He was then given a private tour of the Royal Palace.  This was followed by a visit to the National Museum and then a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in which the Secretary-General heard the testimony of three survivors.  After his visit, the Secretary-General addressed media at the Museum and said he would tell the story that he heard from one of the survivors to his granddaughters and he would tell them to convey that story to their grandchildren.  “It is essential that the memory of what happened here is never lost,” he added.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General met with Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of China, and then with the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Samdech Akka MohaSena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

The Secretary-General departed Phnom Penh for Bali, Indonesia, on Monday morning, 14 November.

For information media. Not an official record.