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11
July

 

Indonesia is holding the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting/Post Ministerial Conference (AMM/PMC) which is held in Jakarta from 11 to 14 July 2023. Prior to the AMM/PMC meeting, a technical level meeting and a senior official level meeting (SOM) were held on Saturday (8/7).

The AMM/PMC was opened by Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on Tuesday (11/7).

Minister Retno Marsudi said in Jakarta last Friday (7/7) that the AMM/PMC meeting is attended by 29 countries, along with the ASEAN and European Union Secretariats. According to Minister Retno, as of Friday July 7, 1,165 delegates and more than 400 domestic and foreign journalists have registered.

In fact, the AMM meeting, which will be followed by a summit at the end of the year, will prove that Indonesia is the chairman of ASEAN 2023 which carries the theme 'ASEAN Matters; Epicentrum of Growth'. Because, at the current situation, the world recession threatens many countries and the effects of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and post-Covid-19.

Countries in Europe which are destination countries for trade and agricultural economic production in the ASEAN region have experienced a decline in demand. Because of this, the slogan Epicentrum of Growth to advance the regional trade economy is a formidable challenge for Indonesia, not to mention the issue of security in the South China Sea which is in contact with several ASEAN member countries.

Therefore, Minister Retno Marsudi emphasized that at the AMM/MPC meeting, they would discuss concrete cooperation in the framework of strengthening food security, regional health architecture, strengthening maritime cooperation and energy transition, including the electric vehicle ecosystem.

It is planned that during the four days of the AMM/PMC, 18 meetings will be held, including plenaries and retreats, as well as several trilateral meetings involving the ASEAN Secretariat and Indonesia as Chair of ASEAN.

In addition, the presence of foreign ministers from ASEAN partner countries, as reported by Voice of Indonesia’s reporters at the venue, Monday (10/7), included foreign ministers from the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, England, Japan and South Korea as well as the Russian Foreign Minister are planning to attend, and this shows how important the position and position of ASEAN is.

Because of this, strengthening cooperation in all fields with ASEAN members and ASEAN partners is a tough task for Indonesia, which is lined up as chairman until the end of 2023, including the Myanmar issue which continues to be in the world's spotlight and an obstacle to the movement of cooperation between ASEAN members and partners, both regional and multilateral. The results of the discussion of various issues in the AMM/PMC will be presented at the 43rd Summit in September.

11
July

 

The fourth cabinet of the Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte fell on Friday (7/7). Until the new government is formed, the demissionner cabinet will only guarantee that the daily governance will run smoothly yet cannot make strategic decisions.

The fall of Mark Rutte's fourth demissionner cabinet resulted from party coalition's block in achieving agreement on immigration policy.

 
Recently, the Netherlands has been flooded by Middle Eastern refugees, most of which were from Syria. The Dutch cabinet coalition parties failed to reach an agreement on refugee families reunion. Some wanted to limit the refugee, including for their family staying outside the Netherlands. The other wanted the reunion at all costs. The situation before the Dutch government's fall suddenly worsened last week, after Mark Rutte - without any fundamental reason - suddenly threatened to disband the cabinet if his party's intention to limit the flow of refugees was not granted.

 

For Indonesia, Mark Rutte has a special relation. He spent parts of his childhood in Indonesia, when it was still called the Dutch Indies.

 

The fall of the former PM's government will not have any significant impact on its bilateral relations with Indonesia. Besides history, Indonesia and the Netherlands are sharing a tight relationship.

 

The Netherlands has the most Indonesian diaspora in Europe. The number of Indonesian diaspora in the Netherlands, both still Indonesian citizens and those who changed passports was predictably around 1.7 million people. Currently, more than 1,500 Indonesian students are studying in various higher education in the Netherlands.

 

Despite declining compared to 2021, the investment value of the Netherlands in Indonesia in 2022 was $1,22 billion. The Netherlands stays as the top investors from Europe in Indonesia.

 

The future of Dutch politics is still uncertain. Although the opposition is sensing an opportunity to hold the government, it is not easy to make a coalition. Moreover, there is yet any strong candidate to replace Mark Rutte. Besides, the centrist parties are still trying to make a strategy after the failure of preserving Mark Rutte's fourth demissionner cabinet.

06
July

 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a working visit to Australia and Papua New Guinea from 3-6 July 2023. During his two-day visit to Australia, President Joko Widodo held a series of meetings. The main meeting is to attend the Annual Leaders Meeting on 4 July 2023.

In a joint statement held after the meeting, President Joko Widodo expressed his gratitude for the commitments that resulted in positive developments in relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that Australia and Indonesia continued to choose to be closer as economic partners, as security partners, and as partners in the global transition towards net zero.

President Joko Widodo conveyed several priorities that Australia and Indonesia have to do in the future. The first priority is more substantive and strategic economic cooperation through the joint development of EV (electric vehicle) battery production. The second is the strengthening of the Indonesia - Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The third is related to reducing carbon emissions, and the fourth is related to the development of the Archipelago Capital City.

Prime Minister Albanese expressed his pleasure that a number of commercial deals in the healthcare, mining and digital sectors had been concluded. Prime Minister Albanese also conveyed the realization of the Indonesia-Australia Climate and Infrastructure Partnership program worth 200 million Australian dollars.

He announced that the first tranche of the funding, amounting to $50 million Australian dollar, will be used to invest in startups and small to medium enterprises focused on co-benefits from Indonesia's clean energy technology and energy transition sector.

In addition, the two leaders also welcomed Australian Export Capital's plan to establish a USD 200 million (nearly IDR 3 trillion) capital financing facility with PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) to support Indonesia's energy transition.

Meanwhile regarding regional and global issues, the two Leaders also put forward concrete cooperation to make the Indo Pacific a peaceful and stable region.

The positive results illustrate the optimism of the two leaders for the stronger relations between Indonesia and Australia. The friendly and warm atmosphere shown by President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Albanese also symbolizes the harmonious relationship and the strength of understanding between the two countries.

It is hoped that President Joko Widodo's working visit to Australia will strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries which are more solid for the progress of the two countries, the region and the world.

05
July

 

For the umpteenth time, Indonesia's historical archives have been designated as Memory of the World by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). There are three Indonesian documentary archives that are considered to have high historical value, namely, the Speech of Indonesia's first President Soekarno, entitled 'To Build the World A new' which was delivered at the United Nations on September 30, 1960; First Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade 1961; and Hikayat Aceh 17th century AD.

 

The three archives were designated as Memory of the World at the 216th UNESCO Executive Council Session in Paris, Franceon May 10-142023. The presentation was carried out by Indonesia's Permanent Representative at UNESCO, Prof. Ismunandar to the Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Teuku Faizasyah at the Ministry of Foreign AffairsinJakarta on Monday (3/7).

With the designation and submission of the three certificates, Indonesia now has 11 out of a total of 496 World Collective Memory documents that have been determined by UNESCO. The other eight certificates are the VOC Archives, Archives of the Asian-African Conference, Chronicle of Diponegoro, Borobudur Conservation Archives, Tsunami Archives, La Galigo, Nagarakartagama, and Panji Stories.

 

The determination of 3 Indonesian historical archives to become Memories of the World is,of course,a matter of pride for the Indonesian people, especially for the world of Indonesian diplomacy in the international arena. Sukarno's or Bung Karno's speech entitled To Build the World A New (Building the World Again) invited the world community to rebuild the world based on the Indonesian nation's philosophy, namely Pancasila. Menawhile, the First Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1961 was the date of the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the cold war era.

 

At that time, the developing countries agreed to show an impartial attitude between the American and Soviet blocs with their respective allies. Indonesia from the beginning has played a central role in the formation of the Movement. The principles and objectives of the NAM are a reflection of Indonesia's struggle and national goals as stated in the 1945 Constitution, particularly the spirit of independence and anti-colonialism.

 

Meanwhile, the Aceh Hikayat manuscript is a rare collection written in the 17th century AD and tells about the journey of Sultan Iskandar Muda as the most powerful and greatest sultan in the Aceh Sultanate.

Hopefully,this international recognition can inspirethe entire Indonesian nation tokeepprotectingand maintainingvaluable historical archives.

28
June

 

The world of Indonesian railways is entering a new chapter. After a long wait, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Train (KCJB) was finally tested last Thursday (22/06). In addition to the offered speed of 355 km per hour, the fast train also provides luxurious facilities and comfort as well as security for its passengers. 

KCJB is targeted to start operating on August 18, 2023. The Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut B Pandjaitan in his statement, Thursday (22/6) said that later, the Jakarta-Bandung fast train would operate 68 times per day with an average of 600 passengers in one trip. KCJB, which has 4 stations: Halim Jakarta station, Karawang station, Padalarang Hub station and Tegalluar station is present as a mode of transportation that is integrated with other modes of transportation. 

This transportation project is included in the National Strategic Project (PSN) which was built through the cooperation of Indonesia and China. According to the Corporate Communication Manager of PT Kereta Api Indonesia China or KCIC, Emir Monti, this infrastructure is the first Fast Train in the Southeast Asia region with sophisticated technology. KCJB has started since January 21, 2016. Previously, the KCJB project plan was submitted by the government in July 2015. Initially, the project was targeted to be completed in 2018. However, this target was not achieved and continued to experience delays. Thus, the cost of building this infrastructure swelled by US$ 1.2 billion, or around Rp. 18.2 trillion. 

The Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Train has indeed changed the face of the Indonesian railway world. Compared to several years ago, when the train was the people's preferred mode of transportation with cheap ticket prices and far from comfortable conditions, the condition of Indonesian trains is getting better and better, especially with the Jakarta-Bandung Fast Train which is of course much more modern, faster and comfortable. The distance from Jakarta to Bandung is around 173 km, which usually takes 3-4 hours, and now, this can be shortened to just 32 minutes. Of course, this can save time and is the right choice for transportation users who need fast time to get to their destination.

 

06
May

 

Today, 3 May 2023 is celebrated as the 30th World Press Freedom Day. "Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other human rights", is the theme set by UNESCO for this year. World Press Freedom Day is a reminder to respect the efforts of the media in guarding democracy.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres in his message for this year's World Press Freedom Day said, freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democracy and justice. The press presents existing facts to form opinions and tell the truth to power. Like this year's theme, press freedom represents the lifeblood of human rights.

In Indonesia, this year press freedom is prioritized. This can be seen from the theme that was carried out at the commemoration of National Press Day last February, namely "Press Freedom, Democracy with Dignity". It is very important to continue to promote press freedom in Indonesia. Especially when you look at the results of the 2022 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders, Indonesia is in 117th position out of 180 countries. More importantly, currently Indonesia has started to face preparations for holding the 2024 General Election.

As it became commonplace, as the general election approached, news about political party activities, presidential and vice presidential candidates as well as council member candidates became the main content of the mass media. It cannot be denied either, that several mass media in Indonesia are owned by several party figures. So that the freedom of members of the press to present the truth is highly expected because it really needs to be questioned regarding the owner's ideology.

Even though more and more information is conveyed through social media, which is sometimes believed to be true information, it cannot be denied that the mass media, especially the mainstream, are still a trusted source for the public. For the successful implementation of elections, the public must receive accurate and balanced information. Thus, when the time comes, they don't make wrong choice. Therefore, press freedom must be maintained and strengthened ahead of the 2024 elections.

It is hoped that the freedom possessed by members of the press will be used responsibly. Support for members of the press to work without threats and attacks, to stop lies and disinformation and not participate in spreading it, must be further strengthened. Thus, a dignified democracy in Indonesia can be realized. To quote Antonio Guterres, “when journalists stand up for the truth, the world supports them”.

Happy World Press Freedom Day 2023.

03
March

 

China has made a 12-point proposal to end the on-going Russo-Ukrainian war. The peace proposal plan released by China last week callsfor continuing peace talks and respecting the sovereignty of all countries as well as condemning the unilateral sanctions imposed on Russia.

China's peace proposal received various responses from several world leaders. There are those who respond positively by supporting it, and some are pessimistic.

One of the country's leaders who supportsChina's peace proposal is Hungarian Prime Minister,Viktor Orban. Before the Hungarian parliament,PMOrban said that China's peace planis important and needsto be supported. In his half-hour speech,PMOrban emphasized that the on-going conflict is not only bad for Ukraine, Russia, Hungary and Europe, butalsobad for the whole world.

BesidesPMViktor Orban, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also supports China's peace proposal plan. During a meeting withPresidentXi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday (1/3), PresidentLukashenko urged a ceasefire and negotiations to bring about a political settlement to the Ukraine conflict.

Unlike Hungary and Belarus,Western countries and the United States responded with pessimism and scepticism to China's peace proposal plan. NATO Secretary,Jens Stoltenberg saidthatBeijing did not have much credibility as a mediator.

U.S.Secretary State,Antony Blinken, Wednesday (1/3) as quoted by voaindonesia (01/03) expressed doubts about the seriousness of Russia and China in achieving peace in Ukraine. He saidthat bothcountries had yet to take substantive steps to support their statements.

The peace proposal from China is actually interesting and could be one of the solutions to end this protracted war. There is nothing wrongbybeing responded positively and optimistically. This proposal could be a very good starttoend the Russo-Ukrainian war.

It is hoped that China is serious about its proposal and follows up on this "good start" by implementing concrete steps. Only then,the worldwillbelieve in China's efforts to defuse the current flames of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

03
March

 

Dance performances from Indonesia, such as Bajidor Kahot, Pendet,and Kinang Kilaras enlivened Malay Day 2023; one of the biggest cultural festivals in southern Thailand. The festival held in Yala Province from 24 until 26 of February 2023 has been initiated by the Yala City government since 2014 to introduce Malay culture through collaboration with the Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla and the Malaysian Consulate General in Songkhla.

The Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla in a written statement on Saturday (25/2) stated that Melayu Day 2023 featured culture, fashion and dance performances, as well as cultural seminars, educational exhibitions, culinary promotions, and typical products from the participating countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Indonesia's participation is a good momentum to keep promoting Indonesia, especially in the fields of culture, education, and the creative economy in southern Thailand.

Dancers from Galuh University, West Java are said to have performed the Jaipong and Sekar Putri dances, while Dharma Wanita Persatuan of the Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla performed by contributing the songs,TobeloandGemu Fa Mi Re.

In addition to dance performances, the batik activity guided by the Yogyakarta Madani Batik Studio also received a warm welcome from visitors who wanted to try their own batik.

Kadin DKI Jakarta in the field of fashion industry did not miss taking part in introducing Indonesian clothing in the fashion show event.

The festival was also attended by a number of Indonesian educational institutions, including Yogyakarta State University, Jakarta National University, and North Sumatra Muhammadiyah University. They introduced their respective study programs to the visitors at educational exhibitions.

The visitors also had the opportunity to sample a variety of Indonesian culinary and UMKM products from Bandung Indonesian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association and Dharma Wanita of the Indonesian Consulate in Songkhla.

Secretary-General of Thailand's Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center, Rear Admiral Somkiat Polprayoon officially opened the Melayu Day 2023 event. The opening ceremony was attended by Deputy Governor Yala, Mayor Yala, Indonesian Consul Songkhla, and representatives from the Malaysian Consulate General Songkhla.

01
March

 

The National Disaster Management Agency noted that in the last week of February 2023, the incidence of wet hydrometeorological disasters had increased compared to the previous week. The Agency Acting Head of Center for Data, Information and Disaster Communication, Abdul Muhari conveyed this during a Disaster Briefing in Jakarta on Monday (27/2).

According to Abdul Muhari, from its spatial distribution, especially on the island of Java in the last two days, wet hydrometeorological disasters consist of floods, tornadoes and landslides.

Abdul Muhari also said that the weather trend had begun to shift into a tornado, or extreme weather. Strong winds have started to predominate even though it is raining. Floods in several places are also influenced by regional conditions.

Responding to this natural phenomenon, the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture invites all stakeholders to strengthen flood and landslide disaster mitigation following an increase in rainfall intensity. Mitigation is an important effort that needs to be done to reduce the disaster risk. Deputy for Coordinating Equitable Regional Development and Disaster Management at the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, Sudirman, emphasized that last Tuesday, Mitigation was an important effort that needed to be carried out to reduce the risk of this disaster.

It can be said that every year Indonesia experiences hydrometeorological disasters. Communities, including local governments whose territories frequently experience natural disasters, more or less already know what to do when they occur. But people whose areas have never experienced floods or landslides and are now experiencing them, will certainly be surprised and seem slow to deal with it.

Therefore, community preparedness, including local governments throughout Indonesia, must be developed. Mitigation efforts are carried out not only at the regional level, but also at the Neighborhood Association and Neighborhood Units level. Preparing disaster preparedness bags by each resident, for example, must be continuously disseminated. Natural disasters may be unavoidable, but the risk of impact can be reduced if each individual is in alert.

28
February

 

Another prestigious international sports event was just held in Indonesia. After hosting the 2022 Mandalika MotoGP in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) on March 18-20 2022, this year the prestigious F1 Powerboat (F1H2O) World Championship 2023 race was held at Lake Toba, North Sumatra on February 24-26 2023.

The 2023 F1 Powerboat World Championship is the leading international series of single-seat racing boats held by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM). F1H2O is attended by 10 teams with 20 drivers. In one championship, there are eight racing series with the first series in 2023 held in Lake Toba, Indonesia. After Indonesia, the next series will be held in China.

The F1 Powerboat World Championship 2023, which was attended by President Joko Widodo and several high-ranking officials of the country, is not only a prestigious racing event, but also Indonesia's effort to restore economic and tourism conditions after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The public enthusiasm to watch the F1 Powerboat race was enormous. They did various ways to be able to watch the racers in action. One proof of the community's enthusiasm was that all accommodations in Balige City were fully occupied, from hotels to homestays, even people's homes.

The increasing flow of domestic tourists visiting the tourism area of Lake Toba to witness the F1 Powerboat helped revive the local economy. Not only hotels and inns, but also restaurants got a positive impact from the F1 Powerboat. The increase was very high during the three-day F1 Powerboat event. Based on data obtained by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the economic impact of the F1 Powerboat is estimated to reach Rp300 billion with a target of visiting tourists of up to 25,000 people.

Indonesia should be proud to have successfully held the World Powerboat Championship on Lake Toba. This cannot be separated from the role of the government, especially the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and of course, the local community and tourists who have participated in the success of this prestigious event.

Rise up Indonesia's economy and tourism!

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