Timor-Leste initially applied for membership to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 11 years ago, but since then Dili has been frustrated and disappointed, finding entry into the club of 10 nations a difficult ask.
This prompted Timor-Leste President José Ramos-Horta to remark earlier this year that: “It seems as if to reach ASEAN, you have to fulfill all the criteria to enter heaven. And then the next step is ASEAN.”
Membership seemed assured this year after Cambodia assumed the role of ASEAN’s rotating chair, with Prime Minister Hun Sen promising to do all he could to ensure Timor-Leste’s admittance as the bloc’s eleventh member state. That was not to be.
Luke Hunt spoke with Kupa Lopes, Timor-Leste’s ambassador to Cambodia. Listen here