Phnom Penh (FN), Aug. 16 – Arun Suor Sdey! First and foremost, congratulation to Cambodia for the successful organization of the 55th AMM and related meetings that concluded a week ago. Indonesia learned a lot from Cambodia’s experience in organizing such a huge, marathon meeting, lessons learned that are essential in preparing the next Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship.

Dear Readers,
People say, anniversaries are opportunities for reflection on the journey taken, the strides made along the way and the road to come. Looking back, I can confidently say that Indonesia and Cambodia are on the right track to develop our bilateral relations to the fullest extent, as we have a common view that peace and stability are essential for development for each of us. The same as Cambodia, Indonesia also views ASEAN as the core of our foreign policy, meaning ASEAN is central to us. That’s why, ASEAN centrality in our own region is essential.

In fact, we’re at the same dictionary that a peaceful, secure and stable Southeast Asia region is prerequisite for countries in our region to develop together for more prospered community. Of course, this isn’t an easy task as we are in a time of great upheaval, where trust among nations is in short supply, while zero-sum mentality is rampant, and great power rivalry continues to disrupt the stability in the Indo-Pacific region. At the same time, many regional flashpoints show signs of escalation and have the potential to turn into an open conflict.

As we are optimistic that an end to COVID19 pandemic is looming and hopefully become an endemic, we are walking on the path to revive our economy to recover together, to recover stronger. That’s the very theme of Indonesia’s G20 Presidency this year, to contribute more to the world’s economic recovery to build a healthier, more just, and sustainable world order, based on freedom, lasting peace, and social justice.

As the holder of G20 Presidency this year, Indonesia engages Cambodia – as chair of ASEAN – with G20 meetings, where we believe that ASEAN with nearly 700 million people can contribute positively to the recover and revival of the world’s economy, after more than two years under the dark cloud of Covid-19 pandemic. Together with ASEAN Chair 2022, we believe that we are able to deliver positive outcome of this year’s work of G20 Presidency which focusing on three pillars: inclusive health care, digital-based transformation and transition to sustainable energy.

Dear Readers,
On economic and business page, our economic relations have shown a sign recovery. From January to June 2022, our total trade value peaked at USD 390.69 million, increased by 24.41 percent y.o.y. It consists of export with the value of USD 367.54 million or increased by 26.55% y.o.y. while import is USD 23.15 million, slightly decreased by -1.97 percent. We are confident that by the end of the year our trade value will exceed the trade value in 2021.

On the other side, to attract more Cambodian business people, Indonesia will organize 37th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) on 19-23 October 2022 in Jakarta, in physical format, face-to-face. To facilitate Cambodia’s business people to get in touch with their Indonesian peer, we will organize a Cambodian trade delegation to visit this Indonesia’s largest trade exposition to date. This year TEI will be divided into seven zones, namely fashion and accessories, healthcare and beauty, manufacture, food and beverages, medical equipment, digital and services, and furniture and home décor.

Amidst the uncertainty, it is freshening that Indonesia and Cambodia have our MoU in Tourism Cooperation, accorded during the ASEAN Tourism Forum held in Sihanoukville early this year. We agreed to cooperate in the sub-sector of tourism promotion and marketing, management of tourist destinations, private cooperation, capacity building, cooperation in meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) and events, and connectivity.

Not so long after the signing of the MoU, we organized a workshop of the basics of halal tourism. It is a workshop designed for the officials from Cambodian Ministry of Tourism (MoT) aimed to equip the MoT officials in understanding the basic rules of halal in food and beverage supplies, tourism facilities and management. Basic knowledge about halal tourism will in turn help the development of Cambodian tourism to attract Muslim tourists from all over the world, to ensure that Cambodia is a Muslim-friendly tourism destination. As for Indonesia, this can be a means to introduce and market halal products and lifestyles from Indonesia in Cambodia.

On socio-cultural facet, we are happy to offer various programs, such as training-courses on Bahasa Indonesia for Cambodian, free of charge, here at Embassy’s premises. We also offer Darmasiswa scholarship for Cambodian students to study Bahasa Indonesia, arts and culture including Indonesia’s traditional dances, and music in various Indonesian universities. Cambodian students are welcomed to apply for scholarships in various universities, for undergraduate and post-graduate levels in various disciplines and majors, in Indonesia.

I am happy to see that people of our two countries become closer to each other. I notice the increasing trend of visit after our countries easing cross-border control following the ease of pressure stemming from Covid-19 Pandemic. We cannot stop people from visiting each other for social, cultural and economic purposes. Despite the mounting challenges emanating from the issues surrounding our migrant workers, I can assure that Indonesian Government is fully committed to protect our citizens in Cambodia. I thankful to Cambodian authorities that continuously provide us with help, assistants and cooperation in ensuring protection our people.

Finally, in some parts of Indonesia, people believes that seventy-seven is a lucky number. With that, we hope that at the age of 77, Indonesia continues to build relations with our neighbors in our region, in all aspect of cooperation, including training and capacity building in the framework of military-to-military cooperation, that contribute positively to support the stability and security in the region. DIRGAHAYU INDONESIA!

Sudirman Haseng, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia