Indonesia Urges ASEAN to Work with Growing Countries

By Fitri Shahminan | Source: The Brunei Times
ASEAN must engage with emerging economies of the world to benefit from their future economic growths, said the Indonesian foreign minister yesterday.

Marty Natalegawa, when asked whether the 10-member regional bloc was considering elevating the status of several countries as dialogue partners, said that ASEAN was looking at “so-called criteria”.

“There are number of countries lining up to join as dialogue partners of ASEAN. From Indonesia’s point of view, we must have a sense of the future,” he told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of a series of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

He said that there are a growing number of emerging economies in Africa, Latin Africa and Central Asia.

“These are regions with whom ASEAN must engage so that we benefit from these emerging economies future growth,” said the foreign minister.

He said that there were concerns raised by some about having too many meetings as a result of having numerous dialogue partners.

“The shapes and forms of our meetings can be modified but… the new geo-political and geo-economic reality must be recognised by ASEAN and we should be winners of the globalised world,” said Natalegawa.

“Now we have economies in Africa, in Latin America and Central Asia, that are very robust and prosperous economies so we have to lock up with them.”

In May, The Journal of Turkish Weekly,an English-language Turkish news website run by the International Strategic Research Organisation, said that Turkey aspired to become one of ASEAN’s dialogue partners.

Turkey was among the non-ASEAN member states that attended the series of meetings which concluded yesterday.

Other nations include Bangladesh, North Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste.

In the Chairman’s Statement released following the Third East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, foreign ministers acknowledged the development and growing importance of the EAS in the regional architecture.

“Recognising the EAS as a leaders-led forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common concerns with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the East Asia, the ministers emphasised the need to further consolidate and strengthen the EAS and to ensure the effective follow-up and implementation of the leaders’ discussion and decisions,” said His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, who chaired the meetings.

HRH, who is Brunei’s minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that ministers also noted Indonesia’s call for ASEAN to formulate aspirational goals beyond 2015, such as doubling ASEAN’s combined Growth Domestic Product and halving the percentage of people living in poverty in the region by 2030.