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Indonesia committed to materializing safe, prosperous SE Asia: Minister

The retreat meeting of the ASEAN Defense Minister (ADMM) in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday (Nov 17, 2019). (The Indonesian Ministry of Defense)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has said that his country is committed to materializing Southeast Asia as a  resilient, safe, peaceful and prosperous area which is respected by other regions.

Minister Prabowo made the remark at a retreat meeting of the ASEAN Defense Minister (ADMM) in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sunday, according to the Indonesian Defense Ministry’s website as quoted by Indonesia Window here Sunday.

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Prabowo pointed out that ASEAN has the potential for abundant natural wealth so that it always becomes a magnet for the interests of global forces. Besides, ASEAN waters are also the arteries of transportation and world trade.

However, the potential of marine areas in Southeast Asia will be difficult to develop and use optimally if there is no protection and guarantee of security and safety from the ASEAN member countries, he said.

Amidst the international situation that is full of uncertainties, ASEAN must continue to maintain its commitment and connectivity for the common prosperity, he added.

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In order to realize this goal, ASEAN must have strong and reliable cooperation, not be easily divided by momentary interests, and it must continue to maintain the commitments mentioned in the ASEAN Charter.

“ASEAN must not be divided and polarized which will lead to possible conflicts and disunity. Indonesia firmly opposes any kind of invasion against any country   in any region, especially in Southeast Asia,” Prabowo asserted.

According to him, confidence in the power of ASEAN must begin with its sovereignty, particularly in the field of defense. This can be achieved among others by cooperation on sea security in border areas, measures to solve border disputes, development of the defense industry and other fields which must give priority to the ASEAN centrality.

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The ASEAN cooperation within the framework of ADMM-Plus, cooperation on the Malacca Strait Patrol, Trilateral Indomalphi (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines) in the Sulu Sea and Sulawesi, and the exchange of strategic information of ASEAN Our Eyes under the mechanism of ASEAN Direct Communication Infrastructure has showed the international community about  ASEAN’s commitment to making a resilient, safe, peaceful and prosperous region.

ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific

The Indonesian Minister of Defense further said that ASEAN must be able to become a counterweight and liaison in the Indo-Pacific region through the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook so that there is no domination of power in the region.

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ASEAN through its neutrality and centrality character invites all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to take responsibility for the security of the Region because not only does the Indo-Pacific belong to ASEAN but the world community.

The Indo-Pacific must not be interpreted only in a free and open context but must also have inclusive, transparent and comprehensive characteristics.

The Indo-Pacific must also bring benefits for the long-term interests of all countries in the region based on a commitment to realize peace, stability, and mutual prosperity.

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Indonesia hopes that security problems in the region such as natural resources poaching, regional violations, smuggling and regional disputes as well as  natural and humanitarian disasters can be overcome through strong, real and sustainable cooperation.

The South China Sea issue that emerged at the moment must be resolved amicably through dialogue and diplomacy forums by pushing the Code of Conduct agreed upon by ASEAN to be accepted by China.

Prabowo hoped that the ASEAN Defense Minister (ADMM) retreat meeting will produce something beneficial for ASEAN defense interests in the future.

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“For Indonesia, ASEAN is a forum for building cooperation that is beneficial for peace, stability and development in the region. Through the ASEAN political and security pillars we can strengthen the security of Southeast Asia that can improve the welfare of its member countries,” he said.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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