19
March

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said that the partnership between ASEAN and Australia, including in the trade field, is mutually beneficial.

"ASEAN-Australia partnership should be able to become a model of economic cooperation which is mutually beneficial, a model of partnership that brings goodness to the world," President Jokowi said in his speech during a plenary session of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit held at the Sydney International Convention Center (ICC),in Sydney, Sunday ( 18 March ).

The ASEAN-Australia economic cooperation also has strategic values, he added. The free trade agreements among the 10 ASEAN member countries, Australia and New Zealand have become the most advanced agreement for ASEAN.

"We have recorded that ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement has an average goods liberalization rate at 93.5 percent," he said.

Therefore, ASEAN-Australia must become a locomotive for free trade system which is open and fair in the region, and the system should be strengthened in wider regions. President Jokowi has urged that negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) should be completed this year. The RCEP is a commitment to mutually beneficial multilateral trade system. "Therefore, we must strengthen the commitment to finish the RCEP negotiations in 2018," Jokowi added.

The RCEP could become the world`s largest trade pact, because the RCEP represents nearly half of the world`s population, 31.6 percent of the global GDP, and 28.5 percent of the global trade.


"In future, ASEAN-Australia must continue to become an anchor for a free trade system which is open and fair for the prosperity and welfare of our people in the region," the President noted.

Themed "Enhancing Regional Security and Prosperity", the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit held here, on March 16-19, 2018, discussed issues related to regional security, economic relations as well as counter-terrorism measures so as to further tighten the relationship between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). During the stay in Australia, President Jokowi was flanked by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, Minister/State Secretary Pratikno, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Thomas Lembong.

ASEAN groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. ( antara )

19
March

In addition to collaborating with Curtin University in Perth, Australia, Curtin University Malaysia located in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia is also working with several universities in Indonesia. Cooperation that has been woven by Curtin University Malaysia with several universities in Indonesia one of them is the exchange student cooperation. This was conveyed by one of the lecturers from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Curtin University Malaysia, AgusSaptoro on Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Miri, Sarawak.

If the context is Curtin Malaysian campus, we are with one from Belgium yes, in the meantime. In Indonesia we are with UI, so UI can be two plus two, so two years in UI two years here or three years in UI, one year here. We have agreement, in Indonesia with UI and Polytechnic Caltex, exchange yes, short term or longterm,” AgusSaptoro said.

AgusSaptoro added in addition to the cooperation of student exchange, other cooperation made by Curtin University Malaysia with several state universities in Indonesia is a research cooperation in various fields. He mentioned that besides the University of Indonesia (UI) and Polytechnic Caltex, in Pekanbaru, Riau, another campus that also conducts research cooperation with Curtin University Malaysia is GadjahMada University (UGM), Yogyakarta and National Institute of Technology (Itenas), Bandung, West Java. To fund the research cooperation, according to AgusSaptoro, Curtin University Malaysia and universities from Indonesia have their respective portions, depending on which party initiates the research. (VOI/Rezha/ART)

19
March

 Leaders from 10 ASEAN member countries and Australia attended a plenary session of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018 held in Sydney on Sunday ( 18 March )

"Over the past 50 years, ASEAN has used its influence to defuse tension, build peace, encourage economic cooperation and support to maintain the rule of law," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in his opening remarks.

He said the day of the Summit`s plenary session is a historic day, as the leaders of ASEAN and Australia come together for the first time in Australia, working together determining their commitment to the centrality of ASEAN and the commitment of Australia to ASEAN which is at the very heart of the stability, prosperity, security of the region. The meeting comes at a critical time for the region. The pace and scale of change is without any precedent in human history, he added.

"Our vision is optimistic and born of ambition, it`s for a neighbourhood that is defined by open markets and the free flow of goods, services, capital and ideas," the Australian leader said.

Australia is fully committed to backing ASEAN as the strategic convenor of the region, Turnbull stated.

"A region where adherence to rules delivers lasting peace, where the rights of all states are respected, where open markets facilitate the free flow of trade, capital and ideas. And where the rule of law protects all nations. And to quote your Chairman`s father `if you want to have a region where the big fish do not eat the little fish, and the little the shrimps.` You want a region where everybody regardless of their size is respected in their sovereignty and their ability to determine their own course," Turnbull added. The events of the past week have shown how vibrant and dynamic the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership is, he said.

"Our business leaders are driving economic growth and creating jobs and opportunities and we`ll hear from them shortly, our security and law enforcement agencies are keeping us safe from terrorism and other threats and working more closely together than ever and of course our students, our communities our educational, cultural and sporting institutions are engaging with and learning from each other to our mutual benefit," he said.

Meanwhile, Singapore`s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his speech reiterated how important it was for the region to redouble its resolve to pursue trade liberalisation and regional economic integration.

"This is especially crucial as global mood is shifting against international trade and globalisation. The US has imposed tariffs on solar panels, aluminium and steel, and are contemplating further, more dramatic measures," he said. "These steps could easily lead to tit-for-tat responses and a trade war. This will be very harmful to ASEAN economies, as well as Australia`s, because we are all highly dependent on international trade," he noted.

Lee also called on ASEAN and Australia to work closer on cybersecurity issues, which range from Internet crimes to fake news. He noted that cybercrimes are a transboundary problem that is difficult to police.

"It can have a drastic impact on our populations, for example in terms of critical infrastructure; and it can be insidious - undermining the trust which holds our societies together, for example through fake news," Lee added

The plenary session also discussed regional security threats including those from North Korea. Themed "Enhancing Regional Security and Prosperity", the three-day ASEAN-Australia Special Summit discussed issues related to regional security, economic relations as well as counter-terrorism measures so as to further tighten the relationship between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The leaders who attended the plenary were Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Myanmar`s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, and Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano of the Philippines. ( antara )

18
March

Indonesia and Australia have encouraged Indo-Pacific regional stability during their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018 on Saturday.

"At the bilateral meeting, the two leaders warmly welcomed the plan of action for maritime cooperation and hoped that it could be implemented soon. They also hoped the discussion on communication and consultation on the concept of Indo-Pacific could be realized to create stability in the Indo-Pacific region," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.


The bilateral meeting also serves as a conclusion of 2+2 meeting between foreign ministers and defense ministers of the two countries held the day before.


"In addition, we also discussed Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Although it has almost been completed, the negotiations have reached more than 90 percent, and several things still have to be discussed with Australia," she remarked.


Negotiations between trade ministers of the two countries will be held next month.


"Based on the report from the trade minister, he will meet again (with his Australian counterpart) in April to settle the remaining issues. Hopefully, the two countries will reach an agreement by the end of this year," she asserted.


At the meeting, the two countries also agreed to the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation in implementing the agreement.


"The first principle that must be agreed upon is that the CEPA must benefit both THE countries. The second principle is that CEPA is not only a commercial project but also a project of partnership and cooperation.


The third agenda of the bilateral meeting is digital Indonesia-Australia digital cooperation. (ANTARA)