VOInews, Jakarta: Indonesia hopes Australia can become ASEAN's main partner in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The statement was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi at the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) meeting with Australia in Jakarta, Thursday (07/13/2023).
Foreign Minister Retno said Australia could be a positive force in the region by supporting ASEAN centrality. She underlined Australia's status as one of the four ASEAN partners with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
"We have great expectations for Australia to become a positive force in the region and support ASEAN centrality in shaping regional dynamics," Retno said.
Foreign Minister Retno said that there are two areas of cooperation that can be focused on.
First, on the issue of peace and stability in the region. Retno said that Australia and ASEAN can serve as an anchor of stability in the Indo-Pacific.
"We need to build an inclusive regional architecture, where all parties feel safe and contribute to regional prosperity. Australia can be a true partner of ASEAN and become an anchor of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific," Retno said.
Second, Australia is expected to become a development partner in the Pacific region. In this regard, Foreign Minister Retno said that the Pacific region is an inseparable part of the Indo-Pacific. For this reason, concrete cooperation between ASEAN and Pacific countries is needed, including in the fields of climate action and disaster risk reduction, food security, and blue economy.
Foreign Minister Retno also hoped that Australia's support for cooperation between the ASEAN Secretariat and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) will begin this year.
At this meeting, Foreign Ministers of ASEAN countries expected an increase in concrete cooperation with Australia in a number of areas, namely trade, connectivity, health, education, transportation, climate change, and sustainable energy.
They also hope Australia can become an anchor of economic growth in the Southern part of the Indo-Pacific. In addition, ASEAN countries also expect Australia to support regional stability and peace, including by supporting ASEAN's common position on the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong affirmed support for ASEAN's centrality in maintaining stability and realizing regional prosperity, through the concrete implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). In addition, Australia has also formulated a Strategy for Southeast Asia 2040 to enhance economic cooperation with ASEAN.
The meeting agreed on a Concept Note for the ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit. The ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit will be held next year. (VOI)