…Indonesia was involved in advanced talks in Cambodia during the late 1980s. Known as the Jakarta Informal Meeting, Indonesia was trying to help put an end to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia, in what some observers called the Third Indochina War (1978-91).
Despite these close ties, however, Indonesia has been slow to benefit from trade and investment with Cambodia, often finding itself behind other countries eager to get a foothold in the country. Indonesia’s exports to Cambodia last year were worth about $220 million, according to Soehardjono. That is a tiny drop in the $12.3 billion in total trade that Cambodia did last year.
China and Thailand made up more than half (52.5 percent) of Cambodia’s imports of $6.9 billion last year, while the United States accounts for the lion’s share of Cambodia’s exports (41.5 percent), according to the CIA World Factbook. …
The Cambodian government has committed to the construction of five dams along the Mekong River in order to meet a huge demand for electricity, but environmental groups warn that severe repercussions loom for this strategy.
“While each project proposed in Cambodia comes with a different set of impacts, large dams are likely to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, increase malnourishment levels and lead to an environmentally unsustainable future,” Ame Trandem, South East Asia program director for International Rivers, told IPS.
Four dam projects have been approved so far in Cambodia, with one already operational. All are being developed by Chinese companies on build-operate-transfer agreements, according to Trandem…
For the second time in the history of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Cambodia has taken over the chairmanship of the 10-nation bloc.
The country first chaired Asean in 2002–03, when it had been a member for only three years. Yet the world and the region have changed considerably in the last 10 years.
One notable change is the arrival of the Asean Charter in 2008. The charter stipulates that the Asean chairmanship must coincide with the calendar year; that Asean Summits take place twice a year instead of only once; and that the chairmanships of most Asean bodies, to the extent possible, be bundled into the same country.
Between chairing and hosting Asean meetings, Cambodia has much on its plate this year. But beyond its hosting duties, Phnom Penh must face up to a range of difficult issues as chair…