Japanese FM's visit highlights ASEAN's industrial hub, Indo-Pacific, and South China Sea
The Jakarta Post
A discussion on developing Indonesia as a Japanese industrial hub, as well as on both countries' view toward the Indo-Pacific concept and South China Sea, is slated for Monday during the visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
Kono, in his first official visit to Jakarta, met with his Indonesian counterpart Retno LP Marsudi in the sixth Strategic Dialogue between Indonesia and Japan.
Earlier on the rainy day, he made a courtesy call to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
The sixth Strategic Dialogue is being held to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Indonesian- Japanese diplomatic relations, said a Foreign Ministry statement on Monday morning.
"It is intended to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of politics and security, economy, trade and investment, people to people contact, as well as the exploration of strategic cooperation potential," it said.
In the meeting, Retno and Kono discussed, among other things, the possibility of establishing Indonesia as a production base for Japanese products.
"The ministers agreed to ensure a timely, balanced and mutually beneficial conclusion of the General Review of the Indonesia - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement [GR – IJEPA] this year as monumental gift to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations," it said.
Japan and Indonesia have been reviving trade, especially with the IJEPA being underutilized despite having existed since 2008.Last year, Japan's investment ranked second in Indonesia with a value of US$ 5 billion, according to data at the Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, trade value between the countries during the same period had increased 13.5 percent from a similar report in 2016, which reached $33 billion.
During the meeting, the signing of the Exchange of Notes on Integrated Marine and Fisheries Centers and Fish Market, which aims to enhance cooperation in developing fishery centers on Indonesia's outer islands, also took place.
In addition, the ministries vowed to synergize Indonesia's Indo-Pacific concept with the Free and Japan’s Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIPS) through the strengthening of bilateral cooperation and constructive engagement through ASEAN, the East Asia Summit in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean Rim Associations (IORA) in the Indian Ocean Rim.
"Both ministers expressed concern over the recent militarization in the South China Sea and further hope that the negotiation for an effective code of conduct can be concluded as soon as possible," the statement said. (dmr)
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