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Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno: Joint Communiqué Is Proof of ASEAN’s Unity

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The joint communiqué produced by the 49th annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Vientiane, Laos, was proof that the regional grouping remained united, the Indonesian foreign minister said.

One of the most hotly debated points in the communiqué was the inclusion of a subsection on the South China Sea (SCS) debacle, where China is involved in a territorial dispute with several ASEAN member states.

“This [agreed text] is proof that ASEAN is able to come together as one in times of trouble, in order to safeguard its home and common interests,” Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Tuesday.

The road to an ASEAN consensus was a dynamic process. For three days, Retno ran a diplomatic marathon of sorts, approaching each of the ASEAN foreign ministers separately to consolidate support for consensus.

It was Indonesia that also took initiative to convene the ministers in an informal retreat ahead of the AMM plenary as a means to build trust among member states.

The joint communiqué is an outcome document of the AMM that reflects the views and agreement of ASEAN foreign ministers on various subjects of regional interest.

For Indonesia, this year’s notable AMM joint communiqué includes points on the eradication of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; the protection of migrant workers’ rights in ASEAN; the continuous improvement of ASEAN’s processes and mechanisms; the increase in maritime cooperation; small and medium enterprises (SMEs) cooperation; the trafficking of persons and counterterrorism; the commitment to safeguard the Southeast Asia region from nuclear weapons; the support of Palestinian independence; increased ASEAN connectivity; and cooperation on the 2025 ASEAN Vision and 2030 UN Agenda for sustainable development.

Source: The Jakarta Post