Update of ASEAN Foreign Ministers in Jakarta: Russia-India-New Zealand

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ASEAN countries began holding a series of meetings with various regional partner countries at Shangri-La, Jakarta since Thursday (13/7/2023) morning.
So far the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) has held meetings with foreign ministers (Menlu) from India, New Zealand and Russia.

The following are the meeting points discussed, as summarized by CNBC Indonesia.
ASEAN-India
During the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference with India, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Menlu) Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi said Indonesia was pushing for strengthening ASEAN-India cooperation in the field of food security.

“The populations of ASEAN and India which continue to grow depend on food security. Therefore, we need to make more efforts to ensure the availability, access and affordability of food in times of crisis,” said Retno to Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishanka.

“This cooperation needs to be focused on building a sustainable food supply chain through trade, dialogue and transparent government policies,” he added.

In addition, Indonesia also encourages long-term collaboration in the field of agricultural technology and research centers. This is intended to increase local food production and provide benefits to small farmers.

Indonesia will also propose a Joint Statement of ASEAN Leaders on Strengthening Cooperation on Food Security in Times of Crisis to be adopted at the upcoming ASEAN-India Summit.

“The populations of ASEAN and India which continue to grow depend on food security. Therefore, we need to make more efforts to ensure the availability, access and affordability of food in times of crisis,” said Retno to Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishanka.

“This cooperation needs to be focused on building a sustainable food supply chain through trade, dialogue and transparent government policies,” he added.

In addition, Indonesia also encourages long-term collaboration in the field of agricultural technology and research centers. This is intended to increase local food production and provide benefits to small farmers.

Indonesia will also propose a Joint Statement of ASEAN Leaders on Strengthening Cooperation on Food Security in Times of Crisis to be adopted at the upcoming ASEAN-India Summit.

The second issue raised by Indonesia is peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Indonesia appreciates India’s support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and invites India to participate in the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum as a forum for public-private dialogue for concrete cooperation.

In this regard, ASEAN will invite the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) to the East Asia Summit (EAS). This invitation was made to encourage a more inclusive regional architecture in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar himself also expressed his support for ASEAN centrality, the implementation of AOIP, and plans to hold the ASEAN-IndoPacific Forum in Jakarta in September.

ASEAN-New Zealand
In a meeting with New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, Retno said Indonesia hoped Australia could become ASEAN’s main partner in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Retno said Australia could become a positive force in the region by supporting ASEAN’s centrality. He underlined Australia’s status as one of 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’s centrality in shaping regional dynamics,” said Retno.

Retno also said that there were two areas of cooperation that could be used as a focus, namely the issue of peace and stability in the region, where Australia and ASEAN could act as anchors of stability in the Indo-Pacific; and Australia are expected to become development partners in the Pacific region.

At this meeting, the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries hoped to increase concrete cooperation with Australia in a number of fields, namely trade, connectivity, health, education, transportation, climate change and sustainable energy.

They also hope that Australia can become an anchor for economic growth in the South of the Indo-Pacific. In addition, ASEAN countries also expect Australia to support regional stability and peace, including by supporting ASEAN’s joint position regarding the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong emphasized support for ASEAN’s centrality in maintaining stability and realizing regional prosperity, through the concrete implementation of AOIP. In addition, Australia has also formulated a Strategy for Southeast Asia in 2040 to enhance economic cooperation with ASEAN.

The meeting agreed on a Concept Note for the ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit. The new ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit will be held next year.

ASEAN-Russia
In a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Indonesia pushed for strengthening cooperation in the field of food security between ASEAN and the country led by President Vladimir Putin.

Retno said Russia had been a dialogue partner for ASEAN for more than 26 years. Five years ago their relationship was upgraded to a Strategic Partnership, but today the world situation has changed drastically.

“A paradigm of collaboration is needed to save the world. As a friend of Russia and Ukraine, Indonesia is relentless in calling for peace. Our partnership must translate this paradigm into concrete actions,” said Retno.

Not only that, Retno also hopes that Russia can support AOIP and ASEAN’s work with partners. He said there were two areas of collaboration that needed to be encouraged, namely cooperation in the field of food security and ensuring a nuclear weapon-free zone in Southeast Asia.

ASEAN plans to submit a Leaders’ Declaration on Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition to Respond to Crisis at the 43rd ASEAN Summit in September.

“Russia’s support for this initiative is very important considering Russia’s status as a global grain and fertilizer producer,” said Foreign Minister Retno. Second, ensuring a nuclear weapons free zone in Southeast Asia.

Retno said ASEAN was formed to maintain long-term peace and inclusive prosperity in the region, and this could not be achieved without ensuring that Southeast Asia remains a nuclear-weapon-free region.

Therefore, all states possessing nuclear weapons must promote non-proliferation and disarmament. For this reason, I hope Russia can accede to the SEANWFZ (Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty) Protocol as soon as possible,” said Retno.

Meanwhile, Lavrov emphasized Russia’s support for ASEAN’s centrality in infrastructure development for an inclusive region in the Indo-Pacific as a foundation for security and prosperity, based on the principles of the UN Charter.

During the meeting, ASEAN countries also encouraged strengthening cooperation in the economy, energy and food security through the implementation of the 2021-2025 Plan of Action. They also encouraged cooperation in the fields of tourism, science and technology, smart cities, digital economy, and technology transfer. .

Regarding security aspects, the meeting discussed the importance of cooperation in overcoming narcotics smuggling, terrorism and internet-based crimes. ASEAN countries also asked Russia to accede to the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol.

They also called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and invited Russia to utilize ASEAN platforms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to advance peaceful dialogue.

Source : CNBC