The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo attended the third day of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits virtually from the Bogor Palace in West Java on Saturday, urging ASEAN member states and partners to help dampen the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic with strategic regional cooperation.
One of the meetings Jokowi attended was the ASEAN-New Zealand summit.
“I want to start this meeting by congratulating Jacinda Ardern for her reelection as New Zealand prime minister,” Jokowi said on Saturday.
“Today, ASEAN and New Zealand celebrate their 45-year partnership. I want our partnership to be stronger in several key issues in the future.”
He said ASEAN countries should follow New Zealand’s example by strengthening their relations with countries in the South Pacific region.
“These good relationships will strengthen our partnership in the South Pacific, especially in fisheries and climate change affairs. The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific is our stepping stone to developing our cooperation with the South Pacific,” the President said.
Indonesia welcomed New Zealand’s decision to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which could strengthen multilateral cooperation in the region.
Jokowi also attended the ASEAN-Australia summit, highlighting efforts to strengthen the economic integration with Australia’s agreement to sign the RCEP.
“I believe the RCEP will become a catalyst for the economic recovery in the region, and even the world,” Jokowi said.
He also encouraged stronger stability and security in the region as the foundation of post-pandemic economic recovery.
The President is also slated to attend other ASEAN-related summits in the afternoon, including the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit, APT leaders meeting at the East Asia Business Council (EABC), the launch of ASEAN Smart Logistics Network and the 15th East Asia Summit.
The summits are expected to produce several agreements, such as the Joint Statement on Human Capital Development aimed to improve human resources capacity in the region and the Joint Statement on Enhancing Cooperation under Free Trade Agreement and Combating COVID-19 to reduce the damage of the pandemic to the economy.
The East Asia Summit is also expected to produce five agreement documents, one of which is the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders' Statement on Strengthening ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation for Economic and Financial Resilience in Face of Emerging Challenges to support’s the region’s resilience amid the pandemic.