PHNOM PENH, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia will observe the 15th anniversary of its entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year in order to assess achievements it has received from its membership in the bloc, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday. "The year 2014 is the 15th anniversary of Cambodia's accession to ASEAN," the premier said during the celebration of the International Labor Day with about 1,300 workers at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port."Cambodia will hold a forum to evaluate the results and benefits that the country has got from its membership in ASEAN."
Scholars, researchers, experts, academics and youths will be invited for the event, he said, adding that the country became the 10th member of ASEAN on April 30, 1999.
Meanwhile, the premier said that ASEAN has currently been playing a greater important role in regional and global arenas.
In terms of economics, he said, the bloc has been under negotiations with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Australia- New Zealand for the establishment of regional free trade agreements.
At the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Brunei last month, ASEAN leaders endorsed a decision to allow ASEAN and China's Hong Kong to start to negotiate towards the establishment of a free trade agreement. "These activities will open opportunities for Cambodia to expand markets for its products abroad," he said.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.