The Friendships

Prime Minister of Canada Louis St. Laurent (middle) with President Sukarno (left) of Indonesia. Source: Library and Archives Canada – PA 201867
Prime Minister of Canada Louis St. Laurent (middle) with President Sukarno (left) of Indonesia. Source: Library and Archives Canada – PA 201867

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1953, Canada and Indonesia have maintained a strong and friendly partnership. In 1956, the founder and the first President of Indonesia, Soekarno visited Canada and spoke to the combined Houses of Commons.

In his speech on May 5, 1956 he said:

Yes, we are separated by the Pacific Ocean. But we are also joined by the Pacific Ocean. We are neighbours and nothing is more important that neighbours should understand each other. There is a saying that an unseen frontier of friendship exists between Canada and the United States. It is my prayer that between us of Indonesia and this country of Canada, a similar frontier of friendship may develop and grow strong.

In July 2004, Indonesia bestowed its highest civilian honour on General Andrew George McNaughton posthumously for his contribution to Indonesian independence while serving as the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in 1947-49.

Canada and Indonesia engage in regular consultations in areas including protection of human rights, governance and pluralism, economic development, reducing vulnerability to poverty, and foreign policy planning. Academic exchanges between McGill University and the Islamic University of Indonesia have been an important element of the bilateral relationship since the 1950s. Both countries shared values are enhanced through a rich exchange of arts and culture and other public diplomacy initiatives.

Canada and Indonesia are also partners in a number of multilateral organizations, such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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