An important turning point in the diplomatic ties between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

Leaders from Australia and ASEAN member nations will convene for The Special Summit, which is set for March 4-6, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia, to explore and strengthen their strategic alliance.

This year, Mr. Pablo Kang, a former Australian ambassador to Cambodia, was put forward to lead the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit Taskforce. Meeting up with an old acquaintance at the important event would be wonderful.

Based on shared values, respect for one another, and a shared goal of advancing peace, security, and prosperity in the area, the relationship between Australia and ASEAN has been progressively improving over time. Leaders will have a forum to discuss important regional issues, broaden their participation, and find new ways to work together at this special summit.

Cambodia is a major actor in regional politics due to its advantageous position in Southeast Asia and its strong engagement in ASEAN. By taking part in this summit, Cambodia can demonstrate its dedication to regional cooperation and its ability to actively engage in meaningful discussions with Australia and other ASEAN members.

Australia has been actively pursuing cultural exchanges, economic progress, and improved regional security through its participation with ASEAN. Australia has been involved in ASEAN-led conferences and projects over the years, such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

For Cambodia, the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit is very important since it offers a special opportunity to deepen relations between the two areas. As a proactive participant in the ASEAN community, Cambodia under the leadership of prime minister Hun Manet at the present time, understands the value of establishing solid alliances and working together with outside parties. Hun Manet has a fantastic opportunity to strengthen diplomatic ties and promote collaboration with Australia through this summit. 

Cambodia’s history started from having no choice toa few choices or many choices, if talking from 1979it is so hard for Cambodia to create different choices for the country since Cambodia located in between two big countries that demand Cambodia to develop and improve its internal capacity and solidarity among the people all the time.

Cambodian people who live in Australia should welcome the new prime minister of Cambodia since he will be there as the leader of Cambodia, the country where those Cambodian-Australian citizens can come to visit family and relatives all the time. 

Demonstration or activity to protest against the visit of Cambodian prime minister during his visit to Australia for the ASEAN-Australia Summit would mean nothing for people over there and it would not contribute anything for the development in Cambodia. Every citizen of each country loves their originated country but they should understand the real situation of their country since we cannot always get what we desire.

Cambodia’s relevance in the ASEAN-Australia relationship is increased by its active involvement in regional forums and summits. Cambodia contributes to determining the agenda and priorities of the region by participating in ASEAN-led initiatives, which guarantees that the interests and concerns of Australia and ASEAN are taken into consideration.

The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit is very important to Cambodia because it gives stakeholders and leaders in the country a forum to exchange ideas and work toward deeper regional connections.

Politically speaking, the leaders of Cambodia see the summit as an opportunity to have important conversations about regional security, governance, and strategic alliances. They understand the value of regional cooperation and multilateralism in tackling issues like climate change, transnational crime, and terrorism.

Stakeholders from Cambodia can express their problems, goals, and suggestions during the summit. Their viewpoints are crucial in establishing programs and policies that serve the interests and needs of the Cambodian populace. Stakeholders from Cambodia can actively participate in the summit and help shape policies that advance social progress, sustainable development, and inclusive growth.

Since 1952, Australia and Cambodia have maintained diplomatic ties, meaning that they have been formally linked to one another for 72 years.

Australia and the Cambodian government have always collaborated properly. Before making a remark on social media, Australian diplomats would prefer to have in-person meetings with all parties involved in Cambodia to find solutions. Australia is a great friend with whom Cambodia should maintain strong relations.

Occasionally, however, Cambodia should also pay attention to the concerns that Australia raises since it is crucial that both parties understand one another before making decisions.

Leaders and interested parties in Cambodia will have the chance to strengthen their commercial connections with Australia during the summit. They can investigate trade and investment opportunities, share information and skills, and develop alliances across industries. This partnership has the potential to improve the welfare of the Cambodian people, spur economic progress, and open up job possibilities.

All things considered; the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit could influence Cambodia’s future in a number of ways. It serves as a forum for Cambodia to develop closer relations with Australia and ASEAN, as well as to boost its standing in the area, foster cultural interchange, and improve economic prospects.

Cambodia can assure a prosperous future for its people and establish itself as a major participant in the region by capitalizing on the outcomes of this summit. Cambodian government should also understand what Australian wants to get from Cambodia or what can Cambodia do in return for Australia. 

Seun Sam is a policy analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

The views expressed are his own.