Jakarta – Indonesia stated that all partner countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) support Southeast Asia to become the epicenter of economic growth, according to the theme of Indonesia’s chairmanship in 2023.
During the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) which took place in Jakarta on July 11-14, 2023, a number of economic cooperation was discussed, such as food security, energy transition, health, and financial stability.
This was conveyed by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi through a written statement, after the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in Jakarta, Friday (14/7/2023).
ASEAN partner countries include China, Japan, South Korea, India, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Turkey.
“This shows that in this situation, Indonesia’s chairmanship remains strong to try to make Southeast Asia the epicenter of growth … and this is also supported by all our partner countries,” Retno said.
According to Retno, the implementation of the various cooperation will be discussed in more depth and concretely by ASEAN sectoral ministers in charge of the economy.
For food security, Indonesia proposed the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Response to Crisis, which will be endorsed at the 43rd ASEAN Summit in September 2023 in Jakarta.
The draft declaration, among others, contains collaboration of all relevant sectors in ASEAN to ensure food availability in times of crisis, and supply chain resilience in the face of disruption.
“In addition, Indonesia also proposes food security cooperation with partner countries, such as India, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Turkey,” Retno said.
For energy transition, including the development of a regional electric vehicle ecosystem, ASEAN leaders at the 42nd ASEAN Summit 2023 have agreed to build an electric vehicle ecosystem in the region.
Cooperation to support the energy transition and emission reduction in the transportation sector has been mainstreamed during the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meetings with dialogue partner countries.
As for financial stability, ASEAN received support from China, Japan, and South Korea (ASEAN Plus Three/APT) to develop the use of local currencies to facilitate regional transactions.
“These are all supports provided by partner countries to make ASEAN the epicenter of growth,” Retno said.
Previously, three partner countries namely South Korea, Japan, and China supported the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to become an epicenter of economic growth.
Efforts to strengthen ASEAN’s role as an epicenter of growth were declared important by South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, because the world is currently faced with geopolitical tensions and economic fragmentation as well as the effects of a prolonged pandemic and climate and energy crises.
“Seeing these challenges, we need to strengthen ASEAN as an epicenter of growth as expressed in this year’s theme,” Park Jin said at the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta, Thursday (13/7/2023).
Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa emphasized the importance of upholding a free and open international order based on law so that the Indo-Pacific region remains a growth center.
He then mentioned that since its establishment in 2007, the APT has been able to respond to the financial crisis in ASEAN and effectively respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
In responding to the financial crisis, he said, Japan has encouraged rapid financing facilities and the development of a roadmap for possible financing structures in the Chiang Mai Initiative.
Meanwhile, to support post-pandemic rebuilding, Japan provided emergency financial loans worth 3.3 billion U.S. dollars (around Rp49.4 trillion).
Japan is also providing direct assistance through the APT Emergency Rice Reserve to strengthen food security in the region.
“Japan also supports ASEAN centrality and unity within the ASEAN Plus Three framework and attaches great importance to cooperation in line with ASEAN’s view of the Indo-Pacific,” Hayashi said.
Meanwhile, Wang Yi, Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called the APT the most honest regional cooperation mechanism in the East Asian region.
“As an important economy in the region, APT must strengthen unity and cooperate closely to face common challenges. We have made every effort to promote the recovery of regional economic growth and support enhanced cooperation with ASEAN,” Wang Yi said.