This visit coincided with the 5th year anniversary of Indonesia – Vietnam strategic partnership since it was established in 2013. In a bilateral meeting in Presidential Palace, Indonesian President H.E. Mr. Joko Widodo and Vietnamese President H.E. Mr. Trần Đại Quang witnessed the signing of Indonesia – Vietnam Strategic Partnership Action Plan 2019-2023.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Retno L.P. Marsudi delivered Annual Press Statement 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday morning, 9 January 2019 to highlight the achievement of Indonesia’s Foreign Policy for the past 4 years and shed direction for Indonesia’s diplomacy in 2019. In the annual event attended by the diplomatic corps and media, Minister Retno underlined Indonesia’s foreign policy achievement in 4 (four) priorities: maintaining sovereignty, protecting Indonesian citizens and legal entities abroad, strengthening economic diplomacy and Indonesia’s regional and global role.

ASEAN countries is the cornerstone of Indonesia’s foreign policy. As the the only strategic partner in ASEAN, Vietnam will always be an important partner for Indonesia. In a line with Indonesia’s foreign policy priorities, Indonesia is looking forward to cooperate with Vietnam in accelerating the completion of negotiation on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), protecting Indonesian citizens living in Vietnam, boosting economic cooperation as well as maintaining regional security and stability. In relation to economic cooperation, early January this year, Indonesian Embassy welcomed the placement of a Trade Attache in Hanoi as one of the concrete effort to achieve bilateral trade target of USD 10 billion in 2020.

Photo: CPV
In maintaining sovereignty, for the past 4 years, there were 129 border negotiations between Indonesia and 8 neighbouring countries, including Vietnam. As the Minister said “Even though it is not an easy task, border diplomacy has produced some results”. In 2018, Indonesia and Vietnam agreed to accept the principle of non-single line which differentiate between the Continental Shelf Line from the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) line.

Protecting Indonesia’s citizens and legal entities abroad is the second priority. For this matter, related institutions including Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have utilizing technological innovation to establish “Peduli WNI” - an integrated web portal to serve as a single platform to provide service and protection for Indonesian citizens. In the last 4 years, 73.503 cases of Indonesian citizens have been settled, 278 citizens have been released from the threat of capital punishment and 16.432 citizens have been evacuated from areas of war, conflict and natural disasters throughout the world.

The third priority is economic diplomacy. To cope with global economic challenges with among others caused by trade war, Indonesia’s economic diplomacy strived to strengthen economic cooperation with untapped and potential markets: African countries, South and Central Asia and some of Latin American countries, strengthen cooperation infrastructure bilaterally to increase competitiveness of Indonesian products through negotiation of CEPA, FTA and PTA, expand the selling of strategic industries products as well as protect Indonesia’s strategic product: palm oil.

Achievement in Indonesia’s economic diplomacy among others are the export of train cars to Bangladesh, Thailand and the Philippines, the export of aircrafts to Senegal and Mexico, the completion of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with European Union, revocation of flight ban for Indonesian airlines to fly to European Union since June 2018 as well as USD586 million business deals in two-days Indonesia – Africa Forum in April 2018.

Photo: CPV
Indonesia’s regional and global role is the fourth priority of Indonesia’s foreign policy. The Minister reiterated Indonesia’s vision to be global maritime fulcrum by consistently strengthening maritime diplomacy and maintaining stability, security and prosperity in Indian and Pacific Oceans. In this context, Indonesia develop the concept of Indo-Pacific cooperation presented by President Joko Widodo in the East Asia Summit in Singapore in November 2018. Indonesia together with ASEAN member countries invite all partners to continue to develop this concept.

Furthermore, Minister Retno also stressed the importance of security and stabilty in Southeast Asia region. As she said “Security in Southeast Asia and its surrounding region is in the interests of Indonesia and all ASEAN countries”. Thus, she added that ASEAN should be proactive in addressing strategic development and changes in the region. In relation with South China Sea, Indonesia wants to ensure that the Declaration of Conducts can continue to be implemented.

In global level, Indonesia’s diplomacy continues to contribute to peace and humanity issues. The Minister reiterated that the issue of Palestine continues to be one priority of Indonesia's foreign policy. As she said “Indonesia will continue to be in the front row to help the struggle of Palestinian people”.

In the field of humanity, Indonesia continues to contribute to alleviate suffering both caused by conflict and natural disaster. The construction of Indonesian Hospital in Rakhine State, Myanmar, hopefully will be finished in March 2019. This will add Indonesian people contribution in Rakhine State after previously successfully built 6 schools. Indonesia has also showed its support to countries affected by natural disaster such as Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Marshall Island and Nepal.

Year of 2018 has been a busy and special year for Indonesia. In June 2018, Indonesia has been elected as one of the non-permanent members of UN Security council for 2019 – 2020 period and through out the year Indonesia has successfully hosted international events: Asian Games, Asian Para Games,
Annual Meeting of IMF and World Bank as well as ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 11th 2018. Furthermore, Indonesia has also become the initiator and the host for the first Indonesia – Africa Forum, Indonesia – Africa Maritime Dialogue and World Conference on Creative Economy./.

Khac Kien