The importance of face still cannot be underestimated when it comes to Southeast Asian diplomacy, however awkward, it seems. The solution hammered out late on Monday night concerning Cambodia's entry to ASEAN saw all sides privately claiming victory. Prime Minister Hun Sen sat in the middle of the front row but was not on stage or formally part of the summit of the other nine southeast Asian leaders at opening ceremonies yesterday. He has been told he will definitely be admitted soon in a special ceremony in Hanoi - the capital of his main allies - a solution that reflects the face invested by Vietnam's campaign for Cambodia's speedy admission. All that remains is a firm date and someone to finalise that decision. Malaysia has urged that this should happen soon as a 'Christmas present', while Vietnam said the creation of 'ASEAN 10' was already a 'reality'. All sides now claim privately, however, that at least the issue will not be able to overshadow more important matters.