Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is visiting Tokyo from Saturday for a regional summit, said he plans to seek support from Japan for Cambodia's hosting of the Asia-Europe Meeting in 2020.
Hun Sen told Kyodo News in a written interview on Friday that the meeting will allow a developing country like Cambodia to showcase its potential to attract investment and tourism, which are significant factors to further develop its economy.
Hun Sen flew to Japan for the Japan-Mekong summit, which will also be attended by the leaders of Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. He is slated to have a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the summit.
During his five-day stay in Japan, Hun Sen said he will seek to strengthen relations with Japan in many fields.
In Cambodia's general election held in July in which no credible opposition took part, Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party won all seats in the National Assembly.
The European Union has been critical of the Cambodian government over the election, especially with regard to the forced dissolution of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party ahead of the election and a five-year political ban for 118 members of the party.
When asked whether Cambodia is concerned about the possibility of some European countries boycotting the Asia-Europe Meeting over the election, Sok Siphana, an adviser to the Cambodian government who is involved with ASEM preparations, said Cambodia is supported by all nine other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
If the summit takes place as planned, it will be the first time for Cambodia to host such a large gathering of leaders from Asia and Europe.
Regarding logistics and accommodation, Sok Siphana said Cambodia will be able to cater to and entertain world leaders given that many new hotels and high-rise buildings have been sprouting up all over the country, especially in the capital city Phnom Penh, over the past 10 years.
Hun Sen, who has been in power for 33 years, also said that he regards his eldest son, Hun Manet, as a possible future leader of the Southeast Asian country.
However, he acknowledged that no matter how capable the four-star general may be, "When the time comes, only the power of the people nationwide could determine who will become their new leader."
The Asia-Europe Meeting was established in 1996 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia. It aims to strengthen the relationship between the two continents.
The forum brings together 53 partners, including the 30 European countries -- 28 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland -- 21 Asian countries, and the ASEAN Secretariat
The ASEM summit is organized every two years to set out the priorities of the partnership. These summits are held alternatively in Asia and Europe.