Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said he expects Australia to become a bridge that strengthens collaboration between ASEAN and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).

He made the statement during a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Summit held at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) here on Thursday.

"Indonesia expects Australia to become a bridge to strengthen the collaboration between ASEAN and PIF," Widodo said.

Indonesia held the 2023 ASEAN Summit from September 5 to 7 in Jakarta with the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth."

Through its chairmanship of the bloc, Indonesia raised the importance of ASEAN's relevancy and the intent to capitalize on ASEAN's potential and make it the center of economic growth.

It is hoped that Australia will help uphold the principle of sovereignty at the PIF summit from November 6–10, 2023, Widodo said.

He also praised Australia's support of sovereignty at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) summit in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on August 23 and 24.

"Thank you for Australia's support of the principle of sovereignty at last month's MSG summit. I expect the same support at the PIF summit in November," he added.

In addition, Widodo said he believes that "Australia can make sure PIF remains focused on strengthening regional operations, including with ASEAN."

Meanwhile, PM Albanese congratulated Indonesia on its successful holding of the ASEAN Summit.

He also reiterated that Australia sees Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, as an important region, as reflected by the "Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040" issued at the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) in Jakarta.

"The fact that we chose to launch the action in Jakarta is proof that we consider the region, especially, Indonesia, to have a central role," Albanese said.

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Translator: Rangga J, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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