Jakarta (ANTARA) - Three partner countries -- South Korea, Japan, and China -- have expressed their support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN's) goal of becoming the epicentrum of economic growth.

South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Park Jin said that efforts to strengthen ASEAN's position as a growth epicentrum are important, considering that the world is currently facing geopolitical tensions, economic fragmentation, lasting pandemic impact, and a climate crisis.

"Knowing these challenges, we need to strengthen ASEAN's role as the epicentrum of growth, in line with this year's ASEAN chairmanship theme," the minister added during the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Jakarta on Thursday.

He noted that APT has readied 60 cooperation mechanisms to ensure the proper anticipation of any potential crisis in the region.

The mechanisms include the Chiang Mai Initiative, which aims to respond to the financial crisis, and the Emergency Rice Reserve, which seeks to deal with food supply disruptions.

Furthermore, Minister Park expressed his support for the initiative of Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi that puts emphasis on dialogue and reliability to encourage regional stability and growth.

"We must create a new momentum to revitalize the cooperation between the three ASEAN's partner countries. To that end, Korea will take a more active role in advancing trilateral cooperation," he said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa reiterated the importance of upholding a free and open international order based on the law in efforts to maintain the Indo-Pacific's position as a growth center.

Since 2007, APT has managed to respond to financial crises in ASEAN and effectively handle the unprecedented crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister noted.

In order to manage financial crises, Japan has been pushing for fast payment facilities and developing a road map to enable related parties to formulate a financial structure in accordance with the Chiang Mai Initiative.

In addition, Japan has provided emergency loans totaling US$3.3 billion to support post-pandemic development along with direct assistance through the Emergency Rice Reserve to strengthen regional food resilience.

"Japan is also supporting ASEAN's centrality and unity within the ASEAN Plus Three Framework, while attaching great importance to cooperation that aligns with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific," he added.

Wang Yi, director of the Office of China's Central Foreign Affairs Commission, said that APT constitutes the most trusted regional cooperation mechanism in East Asia.

"As a crucial economy in the region, APT must firmly strengthen unity and cooperation to face common challenges. We have made all possible efforts to revitalize regional economic growth and support increased cooperation with ASEAN," he added.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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