Natalegawa officially released his new book, "Does ASEAN Matter? A View from Within," at a Periplus Book Store in South Jakarta on Wednesday. The former Indonesian foreign minister noted that based on cautious optimism, the book is about the present and future relevance of ASEAN, which discusses the complex power dynamics within and outside the region.
When asked the role of Taiwan in ASEAN, Natalegawa first replied in the tone when he served as a spokesperson of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). "I would say it was a brilliant question and I will normally stop with that," he stated, followed by a roar of laughter from the floor.
"However, since now I am free from such official responsibility, I will say clearly that Taiwan has played an important role in our region as an economic and social entity," the former spokesperson remarked.
According to Natalegawa, although ASEAN and Indonesia officially endorse the "one-China" principle, the reality is that Southeast Asian countries still connect closely with Taiwan.
"We have been managing our relationship in a good way and brought up APEC as an example of Taiwan`s economic participation which contributes to the region`s prosperity," he remarked.
"In terms of the relationship between Indonesia and Taiwan, there is a tremendous amount of economic cooperation," Natalegawa mentioned, citing the migrant workers and investments from various Taiwanese businesses.
The Indonesian diplomat added that he is confident that the cross-strait relations will continue to be stable, which is a crucial factor in ASEAN`s security.
Natalegawa was a spokesman for the Indonesia's MOFA, the ambassador to the United Kingdom, and a permanent representative to the United Nations. He was also appointed by former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as Indonesia`s foreign minister, a post he held from 2009 until 2014.
Reporting by Chi Jo-yao
Editing by Azizah Fitriyanti, Otniel Tamandiel