Outgoing Indonesian envoy lauded for improved relations

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
National Assembly president Heng Samrin shakes hands with Indonesian ambassador Sudirman Haseng. NA

The diplomatic mission of outgoing Indonesian ambassador to Cambodia Sudirman Haseng has improved relations between the two nations, said National Assembly (NA) president Heng Samrin.

During his meeting with Sudirman at the NA headquarters in Phnom Penh on January 18, Samrin praised the envoy for striving to maintain bilateral ties and cooperation.

“[Sudirman’s] mission has further improved the progress of diplomatic ties between the two countries,” Samrin was quoted as saying in a press release following the meeting.

Cambodia and Indonesia established diplomatic relations over 60 years ago and the leaders of the two countries have met or exchanged visits frequently during that period.

Samrin said there had also been exchanges of visits and efforts at cooperation within the framework of the legislative branches, with the legislatures having supported each other at inter-parliamentary forums over the years.

He said the Indonesian government has contributed to building the peace process and development in Cambodia through human resource development assistance, improving the capacity of the army, civil aviation assistance and humanitarian aid.

“[Samrin] was pleased to celebrate all of the achievements of the governments of the two countries. These achievements brought benefits to the two nations,” the press release read.

In late 2021, Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi paid a two-day visit to Cambodia to continue to strengthen relations prior to the Kingdom taking over the rotating ASEAN chairmanship in 2022, which is now filled by Indonesia for 2023.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies at the Asian Vision Institute, said Indonesia plays an active and important role in the development of Cambodia’s military, having shared information and experiences regarding countering terrorism and recovery from natural disasters.

He added that Cambodia and Indonesia established good strategic bilateral relations in the 1950s when the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk attended the landmark Bandung conference which founded the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The two countries’ history goes back even further, with some historians claiming there is evidence that King Jayavarman II resided on the island of Java at times during his reign and that there are documented contacts between the rulers in each region going all the way back to the pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom.

“With Indonesia taking over ASEAN chairmanship this year, I hope that Indonesia will continue using the ASEAN mechanisms for resolving problems in the region that Cambodia had initiated for the common good of the bloc and to increase confidence in them and foster economic cooperation. Cambodia will continue to work with Indonesia and enhance the existing cooperation and expand it in the future,” Samrin said.