I am happy to learn that Indonesia and Cambodia have enjoyed friendly and constructive relations in various fields of cooperation. Diplomatic relations between the two countries was officially established since the signing of Treaty of Friendship on February 13, 1959.
Indonesia has played a role for the reconciliation and peace process in Cambodia, particularly until it achieved the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991, followed by active participation in restoring peace and stability through UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia). Indonesia also welcomed and supported Cambodia’s membership into Asean in 1999.
Indonesia, an archipelagic country consisting of more than 17,000 islands and home to more than 260 million people, is celebrating its Independence Day.
Since the beginning of the independence back in 1945 until now, Indonesia an ethnically diverse country with more than 300 distinct native ethnic groups, more than 500 spoken languages, in which Indonesians also practice various religions, did her best to maintain the peace, stability, unity, and economic growth.
Pancasila or the five principles (Believe in God, Humanity, Unity, Democracy, and Social Justice), the foundational philosophy of Indonesia promulgated by President Sukarno under the inspiration of Indonesian historical philosophical traditions, to value the indigenous Indonesian, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian, and Islamic traditions has become the spirit of our country.
It is also by Pancasila and the constitution, Indonesia highly supported newly independent countries across the globe that by 1955 initiated the first large scale Asia – Africa Conference or known as the Bandung Conference, in which the late King Father, Norodom Sihanouk attended.
Indonesia also plays an important role to bring peace, stability, and prosperity in the Southeast Asian region as one of the founding members of Asean in 1967.
The Indonesian government has given high priority to infrastructure development by opening the isolated areas, built connectivity, improved services to the community, and built new economic centers.
The economic growth stays stable at five per cent for the past five years. Moving forward, President Joko Widodo has conveyed his vision and priority to significantly improve the quality of human resources and to take advantage of the bonus demography and opportunities from the global challenges mainly driven by rapid growth of innovation and information and technology.
This vision has become the theme and spirit of the 74th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Indonesia in 2019. We would like to spread this spirit in enhancing the relationship between Indonesia and Cambodia through much more new and comprehensive cooperation and partnership.
Bilateral trade and economic ties between Indonesia and Cambodia has been steadily growing on a positive trend. In 2018, bilateral trade reached $558.6 million (Indonesian exports was at $525.6 million and Cambodian exports at $33 million).
As an emerging economy with a sustained seven per cent annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, Cambodia is one of Indonesia’s important trade partners and potential market in the region.
On the other hand, it is also timely for Cambodia’s businessmen to start expanding their business to Indonesia, which is one of the biggest markets in the region.
Over the years, Indonesia and Cambodia have developed strong defense cooperation and have shared close military cooperation among others, through Army to Army Talk. Indonesia was the first country that provided training assistance to Cambodia for the establishment of Cambodian Special Force 911.
Until now, the Indonesian National Army has continuously provided training and various assistances to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). Since 1990s, Cambodia has sent thousands of military officials to be trained in Indonesia.
Both countries will reinforce more substantive cooperation, create more agendas and expand more military courses as part of concrete implementation of agreement on Defense Cooperation which was signed in 2017.
People-to-people connectivity between Cambodia and Indonesia has been developing well and even more intensive in recent years.
The number of Cambodians who study in Indonesia is growing steadily as well. The Center for Indonesian Culture in Cambodia or Pusat Budaya Indonesia Nusantara (Pusbudi) at the Embassy, aims to promote Indonesian culture, uphold friendship; and promote understanding between the people of both countries through arts, language and culture.
Since it was established in 2007 until now, there are 865 Cambodian participants in Pusbudi and most of them have obtained scholarships to study in Indonesia and after completion, they are currently work in various fields in Cambodia as government officials, military and police personnel, academia, researchers, medical, media, non-governmental organisations, and in the business sector.
To mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Cambodia , the Embassy of Indonesia in Phnom Penh has actively conducted joint commemorative activities in collaboration with the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia such as: Friendly Futsal Match on January 26th. The Joint Cultural Performance on February 13th; The Cambodia-Indonesia Business Forum on March 26th.
The Friendly Golf competition on June 30th; The Inauguration of Indonesia-Cambodia Friendship Monument in Kampong Thom on July 13th; and Cambodia-Indonesia Friendship Trade Fair in Siem Reap from July 19-21.
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to say Happy Birthday Indonesia with more hope as well as to encourage around 4,000 Indonesians who live in across Cambodia – students, businessmen, professionals, teachers and parents – to work hard and do the very best to strengthen their capacity, skills and ability in self-development to enhance their bright future, and for their nation and family.
Not forgetting as to keep upholding good relations, friendship and cooperation with our friends, the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia and give positive vibes to the country where we are all living now.
(Indonesia celebrate’s its Independence Day on August 17.)