Australia said it is committed to supporting Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19 as the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations.
“We stand with Cambodia in facing the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19. Recovery and alleviation of the pandemic’s impact on people and the economy is an urgent goal to which Australia is actively providing financial and material support,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on January 15 in a letter marking the anniversary.
Cambodia and Australia first established diplomatic ties in 1952 and the latter has been a staunch supporter of peace and development in the former ever since. Their diplomatic ties are shaped and sustained by a common interest in peace and prosperity at home and in the shared region, Morrison said.
Morrison recalled that in the late 1980s, Australia helped break an impasse in the Cambodian peace process and was a co-signatory to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991, which established the founding principles of Cambodia as a free and fair democratic nation.
He said Australia remains committed to principles based on the rule of law and the protection of human rights.
He said Cambodia would play a vital role as the chair of ASEAN this year and that the bloc’s vision to support an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific was critical to the region.
Morrison stated that Australia was proud to be an ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partner and would continue to be a champion of ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific.
“On this anniversary of the founding of our diplomatic ties, I join the people of Australia and Cambodia in celebrating a firm and thriving relationship,” he said.
On January 13, Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang and Australian ambassador to ASEAN Will Nankervis both joined Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Kang said that throughout their 70 years of diplomatic relations, Australia and Cambodia had cooperated on a broad range of areas including agriculture, disability inclusion, education and, more recently, Covid-19 response and recovery, according to the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh.
“Underpinning all of this are our strong and vibrant people-to-people links. This year will provide us with the opportunity to continue to build on our relationship and to offer Australia’s support to Cambodia during its ASEAN chair year,” he said.
“Happy 70th Anniversary of Cambodia-Australia diplomatic relations! May our countries continue to grow and prosper and may our peoples be blessed and live in harmony!” Sokhonn wrote in a Facebook post on January 13.
Heng Kimkong, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland and a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, told The Post on January 16 that Australia has played a pivotal role in Cambodia’s peace building and nation building process.
“It is essential that Cambodia continue to strengthen its relations with Australia both within bilateral and multilateral frameworks,” he said.