“As one of the manifestations of multilateralism, economic integration needs to be strengthened. The President warmly welcomes New Zealand’s decision to sign the RCEP,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.
She made the remarks after she and President Widodo attended ASEAN summits with partner countries, including New Zealand, via videoconferencing from the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java on Saturday.
At the ASEAN-New Zealand Summit, Widodo highlighted the importance of continuously strengthening multilateralism, Marsudi said.
"We need to make sure that multilateralism delivers for all," she added.
The Indonesian President told New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to continue to strengthen partnerships in the Pacific. He also extended his congratulations to Ardern over her re-election as New Zealand's prime minister.
"The good relations between New Zealand and ASEAN can be used to strengthen our partnerships with the South Pacific, including in the fields of fisheries and climate change. The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific can certainly serve as a basis for developing cooperation," Marsudi emphasized.
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RCEP is a comprehensive free-trade partnership between 10 ASEAN member states and five partner countries — China, South Korea, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
RCEP member states account for almost a third of the global population and 20 percent of the world's gross domestic product.
Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto had earlier said the RCEP will be signed on Sunday (November 15, 2020).
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