Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her counterpart from Papua New Guinea, Justin Tkatchenko, held the 4th Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) meeting in Jayapura, Papua, on Wednesday.

In a press statement issued the same day, Marsudi said that the meeting marked a new history in Indonesia-Papua New Guinea relations since it was held in Jayapura, which directly connects the land areas of the two countries.

She emphasized that the two nations are committed to mutually beneficial relations and bringing prosperity to the people of both countries, including those living in border areas.

At the meeting, the two ministers discussed several issues of shared concern, especially those related to politics-security, economy, and education.

In the field of security, she said, Indonesia welcomes the completion of the ratification process of the new Indonesia-Papua New Guinea defense cooperation agreement, which is very important to strengthen the security of the two countries amid the geopolitical dynamics in the region.

"In the field of border cooperation, we agreed to push further cooperation so that connectivity in border areas can be stronger," she said.

Indonesia has also welcomed the growth in bilateral trade volume, which has reached US$247.6 million.

"We agreed that this value can continue to increase considering our potential, which is very large. To this end, Indonesia reaffirms our commitment to start a joint feasibility study regarding preferential trade agreements or PTAs between countries," she informed.

Furthermore, Marsudi and Tkatchenko hailed the initial electricity network infrastructure installation by Indonesia's state-owned electricity company PLN in Witung.

Marsudi then highlighted Indonesia's commitment to working with Pacific countries, including Papua New Guinea, to strengthen development cooperation.

The two ministers also discussed ways to ensure that the development cooperation with Papua New Guinea would be realized and would be tailored to its needs.

This year, Indonesia is pursuing four projects in Papua New Guinea, including provision of assistance to modernize Port Moresby Hospital and revitalization of several public infrastructures in Vanimo, including Wutung Elementary School near the Skouw-Wutung border.

Indonesia has also welcomed the participation of diplomats from Papua New Guinea and other Pacific countries in a medium-level diplomacy training in June.

"We have also signed two agreements today: the Framework Agreement on Development and Technical Cooperation and the Agreement on Training and Capacity Building for Mid-Career Diplomats from Pacific countries," Marsudi informed.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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