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Wednesday, 05 April 2023 17:08

Foreign Minister Retno Conveys Indonesia's Interim Achievements at ASEAN Chair

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VOInews, Jakarta: Indonesia has run the ASEAN Chair in 2023 for 3 months. During that period, a number of things have been carried out, starting from aspects of the meetings that have been held as well as from the aspect of the substance of the talks related to regional issues. Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said that in terms of substance, the theme of Indonesia's Chairmanship in ASEAN is divided into 3 aspects, namely, ASEAN Matters, Epicentrum of Growth and Implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on The Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

Regarding the ASEAN Matters pillar, according to Retno, ASEAN's capacity is important to be strengthened and Indonesia wants to make ASEAN work more effectively so as to be able to overcome future challenges. Therefore, she said, the unity and centrality of ASEAN are important to continue to maintain so that ASEAN is able to continue to be a locomotive for regional peace and stability.

"In this pillar, a big vision for ASEAN 2045 is also being prepared which is currently being drafted by the High-Level Task Force. From Indonesia, Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani is chairing the High-Level Task Force," she said in a statement delivered in Jakarta, Wednesday (5/4).

She added, currently discussions were underway to draft the ASEAN Leaders Statement which would be adopted at the 42nd ASEAN Summit in May from Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.

"Apart from that, the process of discussing the draft ASEAN Leaders Statement on the Strengthening ASEAN's Capacity and Institutional Effectiveness is currently being carried out which will be adopted at the 42nd ASEAN Summit in May," she said.

Apart from that, according to her, currently, discussions are also being carried out on a number of priority issues including eradicating the Crime of Trafficking in Persons (TPPO) due to misuse of technology, accelerating negotiations on the text of the Code of Conduct (COC), strengthening the institutionalization of the Human Rights Dialogue in ASEAN, preparing a road map for full membership. Timor-Leste in ASEAN.

"And the signing of the SEANWFZ Protocol by the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) whose process was halted in 2012," she said.

Meanwhile, in the Epicentrum of Growth pillar, according to Retno, several priorities that have been discussed in the last 3 months include strengthening the health architecture through the One Health Initiative and strengthening health emergency funding to strengthen national and regional health security, strengthening regional food security through regional food availability in during a crisis, as well as strengthening energy security, including through the development of an electric vehicle ecosystem.

"In the High-Level Task Force on Economic Integration meeting, ASEAN countries agreed to develop an electric vehicle ecosystem in ASEAN and it will be ratified at the 42nd Summit, next May," she said.

Furthermore, Retno Marsudi added, in the Epicentrum of Growth pillar, efforts to strengthen regional financial stability were also discussed, including through the use of ASEAN countries' currencies in trade transactions and connectivity of payment mechanisms in the ASEAN region.

"In the meeting between the Ministers of Finance and the ASEAN Central Bank, it was agreed that ASEAN countries would be committed to using local currencies and expanding payment mechanism connectivity to strengthen financial stability in the region," she said.

Retno Marsudi also said that digitalization of the economy and the tourism sector would also continue to be mainstreamed under Indonesia's chairmanship in ASEAN this year. In addition, discussions regarding protection for Migrant Workers in ASEAN and Rural Development were carried out through the establishment of the ASEAN Villages Network (AVN) and discussions are still ongoing.

While on the implementation pillar of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), Retno Marsudi said that during Indonesia's chairmanship, Indonesia wanted to see strengthening concrete cooperation from AOIP, with an emphasis on the principles of inclusiveness and economic cooperation and economic development.

"So the approach or emphasis on implementation from AOIP, that the principle of cooperation is inclusive and also prioritizes economic and development cooperation. Therefore, in line with the implementation of the AOIP, Indonesia will host or will hold a Flagship Event, namely the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum," she said.

Retno explained that AIPF would be held in Jakarta on 5-7 September 2023, which would be carried out in line with the 43rd ASEAN Summit. In addition, Indonesia also continues to approach ASEAN member countries and ASEAN external partners to register concrete projects in the context of AOIP at AIPF intensively.

"So it is about substance development, regarding meetings that have been held and developments in substance," she concluded. (VOI/Andy)

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