Indonesia and Vietnam relations: True partners for development
"Recover Together, Recover Stronger"
For Indonesians, the month of August is always special, our Independence month. On 17 August 1945, Indonesians proclaimed our nation's rights and freedom. We have attained our independence and defended it with a true fighting spirit, with blood, sweat, and tears.
This fighting spirit has inspired our nation's journey for the past 77 years and has become more relevant now. In every hardship, including the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesians are united in our endeavor to progress and to ensure the people's well-being.
The theme for this year's celebrations is Pulih Lebih Cepat, Bangkit Lebih Kuat (Recover Faster, Rise Stronger). It also reflects the spirit of "Recover Together, Recover Stronger" that Indonesia chose for its G20 Presidency.
|Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son paid a courtesy call to President Joko Widodo last month. (Photo: Indonesian Presidential Palace)|
We are now at a time of numerous challenges. While we have yet to recover from the pandemic, the world is facing multidimensional setbacks with deepening rivalries between great powers, worsening environmental issues and climate change, and ongoing conflicts in some parts of the world. These will undoubtedly impact humanity and cause a food, energy, and financial crisis.
That is why every country must immediately come together to prevent these crises from worsening. Partnership must be enhanced so that no one is left behind. Peace and stability are critical to global recovery. Only by working together can we face future challenges and build a peaceful, prosperous, and safe world for our future generations.
When the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our lives, every nation immediately came together to find a solution, saving lives and saving the economy. As a result, we came up with a solution: vaccines. I hope the same spirit of togetherness to fight Covid-19 also encourages nations worldwide to work together and find peaceful solutions for every difference, since the negative impact on humanity is equally bad or even worse.
Equal partnership has been central to Indonesia and Vietnam's relations for the past 67 years. Founded by our founding fathers, President Ho Chi Minh and President Sukarno, the long-lasting ties have been nurtured and expanded for the advancement of our countries, the prosperity of our people, and a peaceful and prosperous region.
Recently, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son paid an official visit to Indonesia to co-chair the fourth Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. The two ministers took stock of progress and pending matters and explored new cooperation opportunities. Both Ministers were pleased with the 11.5 billion total USD trade in 2021, exceeding the 10 billion USD trade target. In this regard, both sides welcome the new bilateral trade target of 15 billion USD by 2028.
The Plan of Action on the Implementation of Strategic Partnership 2019-2023 has effectively boosted Indonesia-Vietnam ties in various sectors. Consequently, both ministers agreed to expedite the finalization of the Plan of Action 2024-2028 that will serve as guidance for our partnership going forward. Amidst the complicated regional and global situation, it is in our best interest to strengthen cooperation to address issues of common concern for the benefit of our people and beyond.
As two large developing countries with sizable young generations—more than 50 percent of the population—Indonesia and Vietnam have great potential to be advanced nations with high-quality human resources. Combining this asset with a long-term vision to boost research, technology, and innovation will contribute to the two countries' economic competition in the world, including through the advancement of our high-technology industry. Therefore, I am committed to helping Indonesia and Vietnam's young population to collaborate in these fields.
Another potential sector that I believe will generate more tangible benefits is in the maritime domain: developing our fishery industry. With a vision to become strong and prosperous sea-based nations, Indonesia and Viet Nam must further integrate as part of the global supply chain of the maritime economy so that we could become the leading suppliers of fishery products to the world.
|Recently, Vietnam's Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son paid an official visit to Indonesia to co-chair the fourth Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. (Photo: Indonesian Embassy in Vietnam)|
Collaboration in the regional and multilateral fora has also been the highlight of our bilateral relations. During Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son's courtesy call on President Joko Widodo last month, Viet Nam conveyed its support for Indonesia's G20 Presidency this year and Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2023. President Joko Widodo appreciated this valuable support.
Stronger partnership contributes to regional advancement
Indonesia was among the first countries supporting Viet Nam's accession to ASEAN 27 years ago. Since then, we have worked together to build a people-centered, rules-based, and prosperous ASEAN Community. As one of Southeast Asia's most important countries, Vietnam plays a crucial role in the region. We believe our stronger partnership will contribute to the advancement of our region.
At the commemoration of the 55th Anniversary of ASEAN, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi assessed that "ASEAN is the best thing that happened in our region." I agree as I noted that one of the most notable achievements of ASEAN is preserving peace and stability in the region. This success has also contributed to the economic development of our region. As the fifth largest economy, ASEAN is a growth engine for the region and the world. Moreover, the RCEP, the most comprehensive free-trade agreement in the world, entered into force last January and will boost the post-pandemic recovery efforts.
ASEAN's 55th anniversary occurred amid a lot of turmoil, externally and internally. ASEAN is being challenged to contribute more to the region and the world amidst great power rivalry and global crisis as well as to find solutions as one of our families, Myanmar, is now in crisis.
During this upheaval, ASEAN needs to consolidate its unity and reinforce its centrality through the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) that upholds the principles of peacekeeping, fostering a culture of dialog and strengthening cooperation. To this end, we need to encourage all Dialogue Partners to focus on the concrete implementation of the AOIP.
In addressing current and future challenges, Indonesia hopes to work with Vietnam and other ASEAN member states to keep ASEAN in the driver's seat in shaping regional order. It is our responsibility to elevate ASEAN by continuing to innovate and not only stick to a business-as-usual approach. Only then can ASEAN be more relevant and preserve stability, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific Region.