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Mr. Vicheka Lay(Cambodian Correspondent)

Vicheka Lay is born in Cambodia and worked as a full-service corporate legal consultant for a law firm, business consultant for a business-advisory company, and project manager of a translation company in Cambodia. Vicheka is also serving as an editor to Cambodian Law Journal, Cambodian Management Journal, the Global Jurist Journal (USA), Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution based in Nairobi, Africa, contributor to the Invest in Cambodia Magazine (London) and the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Journal. He is a national correspondent of Cambodia for the Seoul-based Journal of East Asia and International Law as well as serving as a member of the international advisory board of the International Encyclopedia of Law. Vicheka contributed to the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Science, Law Report on Anti-money laundering for the International Bar Association, anti-corruption regulation for Law and Business Limited (London), e-book on Cambodian judiciary system, hundreds of articles published by Ezine, Globuz publishing, various websites, magazines and the local newspapers. His pending publications include the monograph on Cambodia's labor law to be published by the International Encyclopedia of Law (Kluwer Law International) and his contribution to Cambodia's social and economic dictionary. Vicheka is a member of the Asian Society of International Law, Legal Writing Institute, ExecuNet, Diplo Internet Governance, International Pro Bono of the International Bar Association, World Entrepreneur Society, the United Nations Study Group and the Cambodian Society of Comparative Law. He is also serving as a supervisor for Southeast Asian Heritage Law Project of Heritage Watch International. Vicheka holds LLM and LLB from Cambodia. He is currently taking an LLM program of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Vicheka may be contacted :


The 19th ASEAN Regional Forum ("ARF") was kicked off on July 12, 2012 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, the Capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The ARF was chaired by H.E. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The venue of this year's forum was due to the fact that Cambodia is the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN"). Twenty-seven foreign ministers from East Asian region, including ten ASEAN member States, ASEAN dialogue partners and the secretary-general of ASEAN also attended the forum.

The background of the ARF dated back to 1994, when ASEAN Head of States thought of the significance of this forum for the dialogue on security, bilateral alliances and dialogue within the Asian region, and other key regional development issues. The forum would provide the floors for ASEAN member States, dialogue partners to discuss pressing and existing regional security initiatives, cooperation mechanism toward peace and stability in the region. The idea behind the establishment of the ARF is to enable participates to delve into the less formal discussion on political and security issues, as well as action-oriented cooperation initiatives within the region.

The forum highlighted the need to pursue the implementation of the Hanoi Plan of Action, the security and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, the ARF's Vision Statement 2020, a number of other wok plans in support of the purposes of the forum, the 20th ASEAN Summit and its achievements in the adoption of the Declaration on Drug-Free ASEAN, the Phnom Penh Agenda on the ASEAN Community Building, the Phnom Penh Declaration on ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny, and the Concept Paper on Global Movement of Moderates. Ministers also acknowledged the significance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia ("TAC") and the accession of the United Kingdom and the European Union into TAC. Ministers noted that TAC is a code of conduct for growing inter-state relations, and welcomed the entry into force of the Third Protocol Amending the TAC. The forum also adopted the ARF Work Plan on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

On the non-regional issues, ministers also expressed concern on the violation in Syria, terrorism in Afghanistan, and the conflicts in the Middle East, which may bring instability to the region. The ministers endorsed the international cooperative endeavor in non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy, the global effort and initiatives on non-proliferation and disarmament in compliance with the current international legal framework.

The territorial dispute over the South China Sea dominated the agenda, however. The parties related to the South China Sea include the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan, who all claim parts of the sea and all want to unite to motivate China to sign the Code of Conduct on South China Sea. However, China claimed its intention to enter into bilateral negotiation with each claimant. During the events, ministers reiterated the importance and significance of the ARF and ASEAN's role as a driving form in the Forum in security architecture issues. Brunei Darussalam will be the next Chair and Myanmar will be the next Vice-Chair of the subsequent ARF, which is set to begin in January 1, 2013.

Mr. Vicheka Lay (Legal Advisor of HBS Law & Notary Public)