“Indonesia and ASEAN Centrality” was lectured By H.E. Pitono Purnomo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Cambodia at The University of Cambodia in Indonesia Room on Tenth Floor on 21 February 2017.
a) Inauguration of Indonesia Room:
To start the event, Professor Din Merican, Associate Dean of TSS and Special Assistant to the President gave a brief background on the establishment of TSS and the naming of lecture halls after all the ten ASEAN Member States. He also stressed that this to reflects the firm commitment of TSS to regionality and internationality and also to ASEAN for peace, stability and economic growth. Indonesia is the second country that inaugurate the TSS lecture hall after the Philippines the current Chair of ASEAN.
Dr. Y Ratana, on behalf of the President of UC as well as on behalf of the entire UC, welcomed Ambassador Purnomo and expressed appreciation for Indonesia’s contribution and commitment to UC as well as to Cambodia as a whole.
Ambassador Purnomo, expressed appreciation to the UC for arranging the program as well as organizing Indonesia Room. He recalled the long bonds and tradition that interlink between Cambodia and Indonesia with good coordination and cooperation, and pledged to continue supporting the University of Cambodia. He reaffirmed the stand of the Embassy of Indonesia in Phnom Penh for close cooperation with UC and offered that the Embassy is ready to teach Bahasa Indonesia at the Indonesia room as an extra free course, if UC agrees.
Ambassador Purnomo and Dr. Y Ratana, raised the curtain on the name plate of the Indonesia Room and cut the red ribbon signifying the inauguration of the Indonesia Room. Ambassador Purnomo also signed the UC guest book.
b) Public Lecture on “Indonesia and ASEAN Centrality”:
For the start of the lecture, Dean Keo Chhea welcomed Ambassador Pitono Purnom and gave a brief account of his curriculum vitae. He also stated the rationales behind the lecture as well as a brief background on Indonesia and ASEAN.
Dr. Y Ratana, welcomed Ambassador Purnomo and his team and recalled the long bilateral cooperation and diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Indonesia. He also recalled the active support of Indonesia during the Cambodian crisis and Indonesia’s valuable contribution to the resilience and rebuilding of modern Cambodia.
Ambassador Purnomo? once again expressed appreciation to the University of Cambodia and TSS for organizing this important program. He started his lecture with the current development of ASEAN’s economic performance, which despite the moderation in global economy, achieved total trade grow by US$700 billion with an average of annual real growth rate of 5.2% between 2007 and 2015. ASEAN economic growth at US$2.4 trillion marking itself the 6th largest economy in the world and the 3rd largest economy in Asia.
On political front, ASEAN is proven to be the guardian for peace and stability in Southeast Asia. Decades of peace and stability have contributed to the creation of conducive economic development that finally leads to progress and prosperity in the region. ASEAN evolves from a loose regional organization to a strong and rules-based community with the vision of common security and stability, and common prosperity.
On challenges, Ambassador Purnomo touched on the South Chinese issues as well as inter-states disputes. Nevertheless, he stressed that under the same umbrella of ASEAN Community, ASEAN Member States are like brothers and sisters. We may fight over some small differences, but we uphold family ties and always come together on common challenges. He further stressed that Indonesia shares the common sight with Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen who once said that ASEAN should “remain united as a cohesive family.”
He further stressed that there is an urgent need for ASEAN to strengthen its unity, centrality, and leadership to manage both internal and external challenges and continue to remain relevant to maintain peace and stability in the region. In this connection, Indonesia is of the view that the main precondition for the stronger centrality based on the following pillars:
a) Internal centrality;
b) Centrality towards strategic regional issues;
c) Centrality towards ASEAN’s External Relations and beyond; and
d) Centrality towards the Evolving Regional Architecture;
Ambassador Purnomo finally stressed that as the dynamics of ASEAN’s surrounding environment will be more volatile, without unity and ASEAN centrality, the region will fall into the influence of major powers’ tension. Allow me to underline once again, a more united ASEAN leads to stronger centrality in the affairs of the region. ASEAN unity: one vision, one identity, one community – is an indispensable foundation for ASEAN leadership and centrality in its role in responding to regional and global challenges. Indonesia, with all ASEAN Member States, is fully committed to strengthen ASEAN Unity, centrality, and leadership in regional and global processes for a more prosperous people of ASEAN, a better region and a better world.
There was questions on South China Sea, on narrowing development gaps within ASEAN as well as on the impact of Brexit to ASEAN economy to which Ambassador Purnomo eloquently responded with the additional views from his accompanying staff of the Embassy.
We would like to present the following observations on the Regional Workshop:
· The Indonesian Ambassador and his team expressed their appreciation and impression on the arrangement and the setup of Indonesia Room as well as the Distinguished Lecture. Ambassador promised to further support and even offered to provide free Bahasa course if UC agrees.