Indonesia, Cambodia reaffirm commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The governments of Indonesia and Cambodia have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation during the visit of Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn to Jakarta on Friday.

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi received her Cambodian counterpart and his delegation at the Pancasila Building on Friday. During the meeting, both ministers discussed and exchanged views on various issues of common interest.

"In order to strengthen bilateral relations, we both agreed on the importance of utilizing the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) as the main forum to review the progress in bilateral relations," Minister Marsudi noted. Hence, Indonesia will host the 4th JCBC scheduled to be held in the second half of 2018.

Indonesia and Cambodia have also agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, tourism, defense, agriculture, and connectivity as well as boost regional cooperation. "I am here to reaffirm our common will to further advance friendly relations and close cooperation between our two countries," Minister Sokhonn remarked.

In the field of economy, the two countries have experienced a positive growth in bilateral trade that was valued at US$492.74 million during the January-November 2017 period, an increase of 23 percent from the trade value of $400.01 million recorded during the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, Indonesia has also invested some $350 million in the fields of culinary arts, housing, transportation, and infrastructure in Cambodia.

At the meeting, the Cambodian government expressed interest to increase cooperation and investment in the field of pharmacy by inviting Indonesian companies to invest in Cambodia`s pharmaceutical industry. "Indonesia looks forward to exploring the opportunity to meet the need for pharmaceutical products in the Cambodian market and seeks the Cambodian government`s support for Indonesian companies keen on investing in the pharmaceutical industry," Minister Marsudi noted.

In the field of tourism, discussion between the two ministers also covered building connectivity between Siem Reap, Central Java, and Bali and the need to start a direct flight to boost their tourism sectors. As countries home to World Heritage Sites, Indonesia and Cambodia are also committed to enhancing tourism and cultural ties through a sister temple cooperation between the Angkor Wat and Borobudur Temple.

While discussing regional issues, both ministers agreed on the importance of maintaining unity and centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for which the ASEAN member states must work together more effectively to ensure the realization of such a goal through concrete cooperation to offer benefits to its people.

In order to maintain peace and security in the South China Sea, both ministers underlined the importance of the framework of the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea that was agreed by ministers of the ASEAN and China in August 2017, and they look forward to the commencement of the negotiation on the CoC scheduled to take place in March 2018.

Minister Marsudi and Minister Sokhonn also discussed preparations for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Indonesia-Cambodia bilateral ties scheduled to be held next year. This was Minister Sokhonn`s first visit to Indonesia since being elected as the senior minister and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation of Cambodia in April 2016.

Apart from holding a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Marsudi, the Cambodian minister is also scheduled to pay a courtesy visit on Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

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Editor: Heru Purwanto