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Indonesian Foreign Minister hails achievements with Vietnam

Released at: 14:03, 10/01/2019

Indonesian Foreign Minister hails achievements with Vietnam

H.E. Retno L.P. Marsudi in the speech. Photo: Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia

Minister reviews achievements in relationship with Vietnam in 2018 and anticipates more cooperation in 2019.

by Le Diem

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno L.P. Marsudi has delivered the Annual Press Statement 2019 in Jakarta, with the relationship with Vietnam being highlighted.

At the annual event attended by the diplomatic corps and media, Minister Retno underlined Indonesia’s foreign policy achievements in four priority fields: maintaining sovereignty, protecting Indonesian citizens and legal entities abroad, strengthening economic diplomacy, and Indonesia’s regional and global role.

In maintaining sovereignty, in the past four years there were 129 border negotiations between Indonesia and eight neighboring countries, including Vietnam. As the Minister said, “Even though it is not an easy task, border diplomacy has produced some results.” In 2018, Indonesia and Vietnam agreed to accept the principle of non-single line, which differentiates between the Continental Shelf Line and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) line.

2018 was a busy and special year for Indonesia. In June, it was elected as one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2019-2020 period, and throughout the year it successfully hosted international events such as the Asian Games, the Asian Para Games, the Annual Meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, as well as the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 11. Furthermore, Indonesia was also the initiator and the host of the first Indonesia - Africa Forum, the Indonesia - Africa Maritime Dialogue, and World Conference on the Creative Economy.

Last year was also special for Indonesia and Vietnam’s bilateral relations. Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a State visit to Hanoi on September 11 and 12 and attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN. The visit coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Indonesia - Vietnam Strategic Partnership. In a bilateral meeting in the Presidential Palace, President Widodo and State President Tran Dai Quang witnessed the signing of the Indonesia - Vietnam Strategic Partnership Action Plan 2019-2023.

As its only strategic partner in ASEAN, whose countries are the cornerstone of Indonesia’s foreign policy, Vietnam will always be an important partner for Indonesia, according to the minister. In line with Indonesia’s foreign policy priorities, it is looking forward to cooperating with Vietnam in accelerating the completion of negotiations over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), protecting Indonesian citizens living in Vietnam, boosting economic cooperation, and maintaining regional security and stability.

In regard to economic cooperation, in early January the Indonesian Embassy welcomed the placement of a Trade Attache in Hanoi as one of the concrete efforts to achieve a bilateral trade target of $10 billion in 2020.

The minister also highlighted that Indonesia’s economic diplomacy strived to strengthen economic cooperation with untapped and potential markets: African countries, South and Central Asia, and some Latin American countries, strengthen cooperation infrastructure bilaterally to increase the competitiveness of Indonesian products through the negotiation of CEPAs, FTAs, and PTAs, expand the selling of products from strategic industries, and protect Indonesia’s strategic product: palm oil.

Achievements in Indonesia’s economic diplomacy, among others, include the export of train carriages to Bangladesh, Thailand and the Philippines, the export of aircraft to Senegal and Mexico, the completion of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU, the revocation of flight bans on Indonesian airlines flying to European Union, from June, and $586 million worth of business deals at the two-day Indonesia-Africa Forum in April.

The minister reiterated Indonesia’s vision to be a global maritime fulcrum by consistently strengthening maritime diplomacy and maintaining stability, security and prosperity in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In this context, Indonesia develops the concept of Indo-Pacific cooperation presented by President Widodo at the East Asia Summit in Singapore in November. Indonesia, together with ASEAN member countries, invites all partners to continue to develop this concept.

Furthermore, Minister Retno also stressed the importance of security and stability in Southeast Asia, saying “Security in Southeast Asia and its surrounding region is in the interests of Indonesia and all ASEAN countries.” She added that ASEAN should be proactive in addressing strategic development and changes in the region. In relation to the East Sea, Indonesia wants to ensure that the Declaration of Conducts continue to be implemented. Indonesia also continues to contribute support to countries affected by natural disaster, such as Myanmar, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Marshall Islands, and Nepal.

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