Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo stressed the importance of cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia on their 50th year of bilateral cooperation.

While presenting his remarks during the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit plenary session in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday (March 5), the president stated that the ASEAN and Australia shared the responsibility to maintain regional stability, peace, and prosperity.

"As the oldest dialogue partner, strategic comprehensive partner, and connecting partner with the Pacific region, ASEAN and Australia shared a region where stability, peace, and prosperity become our common purpose and responsibility," Jokowi noted as per the Presidential Secretariat statement.

ASEAN is projected to be a global economic power and the fourth-largest economy by 2040, he stated.

The president also underscored the importance of Australia's support in optimizing the potential of Southeast Asia's total population of 650 million, of which young workforces, with high literacy skills, constituted the majority.

Hence, Jokowi encouraged strengthening economic integration through the 2040 Southeast Asia-Australia Economic Strategy to push for more investment in the region.

He appealed to Australia to open more investment opportunities for ASEAN, as the two sides should optimize their cooperation frameworks, such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

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The president also commended Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who attended the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) agenda on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit last year and pushed for prompt realization of Australia's cooperation commitment valued at US$28.1 billion.

Meanwhile, Jokowi highlighted the importance of Australia's investments and support on ASEAN's climate response and economic digital cooperation, including through investments, ease of access to innovative financing, and transfer of technology.

"I also encourage Australian business partners to support the development of ASEAN's EV ecosystem as realized by Australia's nickel industries through their investment in Morowali, Central Sulawesi," the president stated.

"Indonesia also opposes discriminative and black campaigns under the guise of environmental sustainability without scientific evidence," he emphasized.

He also lauded the commencement of the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement negotiation process last year and expressed hope that Australia would provide support in capability and knowledge improvement as well as strong public and private partnerships.

Concluding his remarks, Jokowi reminded that the ASEAN and Australia shared the same future and should be the drivers in realizing a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

"ASEAN and Australia are great partners for now and the future," the president remarked.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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