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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Expanding Treatment in Cambodia

AIDS Healthcare Foundation—the largest and most comprehensive provider of HIV/AIDS services in the United States—will open its seventh AIDS treatment facility in Cambodia tomorrow, November 21. Along with all of Cambodia’s free HIV treatment centers, the new facility—in the Pea Reang Province—is a product of the partnership between AHF, the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Cambodia and Cambodia’s National Center for HIV/AIDS (, 11/20).

AHF runs similar clinics in the U.S., Africa, Asia and Latin America/Caribbean, and offers clients cost-free HIV treatment and support. It also trains local medical professionals.

Since Cambodia’s first reported case of HIV, in 1991, the country’s HIV prevalence has become one of the highest in Southeast Asia, with nearly 10,000 Cambodians dying of AIDS-related illness each year.

“We are grateful to AHF/NCHADS for opening lifesaving ART program for the people of Pea Reang,” says Ouk Oeurn, Prey Veng Province Health deputy director. “This is the answer to the needs of [people living with HIV/AIDS], and we know this will change the lives of many people for the better.”
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Backgrounder: Chronology of China-ASEAN summits

The 11th Summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China (10+1) was convened here Tuesday. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders of the 10 ASEAN member countries attended the summit. The Chinese premier hailed the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity between China and ASEAN, calling for expanding the China-ASEAN cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win progress.

The following is a chronology of China-ASEAN summits since 1997.

Dec. 16, 1997 -- China attended the First China-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. At the meeting, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin delivered a speech entitled "Establish Good-neighborly Partnership of Mutual Trust Oriented to the 21st Century." 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.

Dec. 16, 1998 -- The then Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao attended the Second China-ASIAN Summit in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam. Leaders of the two sides agreed to maintain friendly exchanges between China and ASEAN countries in various fields, at different levels and through various channels within an all-around dialogue cooperation framework. They also reached consensus on appropriately dealing with differences to boost their partnership.

Nov. 28, 1999 -- The then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji attended the Third China-ASEAN Summit in Manila, capital of the Philippines. He offered China's advice on strengthening the good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust with ASEAN in the 21st century. The ASEAN countries praised China's achievements in its development, and spoke highly of its support and assistance to them in the Asian financial crisis.

Nov. 25, 2000 -- The Fourth China-ASIAN Summit was held in Singapore. At the meeting, the then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji spoke highly of the relationship between China and ASEAN, and offered advice on cooperation between the two sides in politics, human resource development, the construction of infrastructure projects on the Mekong River, advanced technology, agriculture, trade and investment.

Nov. 6, 2001 -- The then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji attended the Fifth China-ASEAN Summit in Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei. The two sides agreed on the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade zone over the following 10 years, and senior officials were authorized to begin negotiations on relevant agreements as soon as possible.

Nov. 4, 2002 -- At the Sixth China-ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, the then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and ASEAN leaders signed the Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation, deciding to establish the China-ASEAN free trade zone by 2010.

Oct. 8, 2003 -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the Seventh China-ASEAN Summit in the Indonesian resort island of Bali. During the summit, ASEAN and China agreed to establish "a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity."

Nov. 29, 2004 -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the Eighth China-ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, capital of the Laos. At the summit, Premier Wen delivered a speech on the appraisal of China-ASEAN cooperation, China's policy toward ASEAN countries, principles for cooperation and proposals for further cooperation.

Dec. 12, 2005 -- At the Ninth China-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao put forward five initiatives to ensure more vigorous and fruitful growth of relations between China and ASEAN, including forging stronger bonds of friendship, putting in place a planned framework for relations, and vigorously promoting personnel exchanges.

Jan. 14, 2007 - At the 10th China-ASEAN Summit in Cebu in the central Philippines, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders of the10 ASEAN member countries witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Trade in Services of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

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11th century Cambodian temple to be renovated by India

By Devirupa Mitra. Delhi, India

An 11th century temple in Cambodia, located near its border with Thailand and the subject of lingering tension between the two Southeast Asian countries, will now be renovated by India.

The Preah Vihear temple has been in the limelight this year over Cambodia's bid to get a Unesco world heritage status for it, but was objected to by Thailand.

A senior official in the external affairs ministry said Cambodia had approached India to take up the conservation of the Preah Vihear temple about six months ago. 'The request had been routed through our ambassador,' the official, who could not be identified as per service rules, told IANS.

The government has already asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to start work on a conservation plan for the temple.

It is expected that an announcement would be made to coincide with the visit of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to India next month.

India has been conducting temple diplomacy across Southeast Asia, harnessing the ASI to renovate important medieval temples in the region built by dynasties that had links with India.

An ASI team has been conserving the Ta Phrom temple in Cambodia's world-famous Angkor Wat complex since 2004, with the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai conducting the structural study.

Similarly, ASI had also been asked to draw up a conservation plan for the ruins of Wat Phou temple in Southern Laos. In Indonesia, Indian archaeologists are helping to renovate the Hindu temples at Prambanan, Yogyakarta, that were damaged by the 2006 Java earthquake.

Indian diplomats said the strategy is to stress the common cultural links between India and Southeast Asia as medieval trade links with south Indian kingdoms led to the spread of Indian religion, language and culture in the region.

The Preah Vihear temple built during the Khmer empire is perched on a cliff in Dangrek Mountains, just across the Thai border. In fact, the easiest access to the temple is from the Thai side, while the Cambodian way is a ride through a mountain dirt road.

With its grand causeway climbing up the hill, the temple is supposed to be a stylised representation of Mount Meru, the habitat of gods according to Hindu mythology. Among the sculptures carved on the walls is a depiction of the Hindu mythological story of 'churning of the ocean'.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice had ruled that the temple was firmly in Cambodia. But with the country plunging into civil war soon after, the temple witnessed pitched battles between the Khmer rouge and the Cambodian army, with the former using it as a military camp.

Since 1998, the temple has remained open, with the only access being from Thailand. Six years later, the temple's importance in bilateral relations again came to the fore when a section of Cambodian media quoted a Thai professor as saying that Preah Vihear temple should be handed over to Thailand as compensation for the 2003 anti-Thai riots.

The latest difference of opinion over Preah Vihear between Thailand and Cambodia took place in June 2007, when the former objected to Cambodia's application before Unesco to grant the temple a world heritage site status. Unesco rejected the application this year but asked Cambodia to reapply in 2008 with a joint management plan with Thailand. In fact, the Thai embassy even warned its citizens in Cambodia to remain on alert against riots, which fortunately did not take place.

Even now, while a majority of the visitors come from Thailand to the temple, they are greeted by a large Cambodian flag atop the temple and a signboard, 'I have pride to be born as a Khmer'.
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