Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Vice President Jusuf Kalla met with their counterparts from Asian and African countries in side events to discuss bilateral cooperation.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia agreed to increase bilateral relations in various fields with Asian and African countries on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Asian-African Conference (AAC) here on Thursday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Vice President Jusuf Kalla met with their counterparts from Asian and African countries in side events to discuss bilateral cooperation.

Indonesia and Iran agreed to promote economic, social and cultural cooperation, which would be mutually beneficial to the two countries. The agreement was reached at a bilateral meeting between President Jokowi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

"The two Muslim-predominant countries stressed on the importance of cultural cooperation," Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said.

While both countries agreed to prevent the spread of terrorism and sectarianism in the name of religion, Jokowi and Rouhani also discussed ways to revive bilateral trade that has been on the decline of late.

According to a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arrmanatha Nasir, the two leaders also spoke about a mechanism to improve trade cooperation between the nations as trade with Iran was being hampered in terms of banking.

With China, Indonesia agreed to formulate priority projects and a comprehensive strategic partnership action plan, according to a statement from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The joint decision was made in a bilateral meeting between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President of the Peoples Republic of China Xi Jinping.

Jokowi noted that the visit of the Indonesian delegation to China in March 2015 should be followed up to achieve the targets agreed upon by both countries, one of which is to increase bilateral trade to a value of US$150 billion.

In addition, President Xi Jinping vowed to expand Chinese investment in Indonesia.

China is Indonesias largest trading partner, with the value reaching US$48.23 billion in 2014. It is also the eighth-largest foreign investor in Indonesia, with US$800 million invested in 501 projects.

On the sidelines of the AAC commemorative event on Thursday, Indonesia also met with a South Korean leader to discuss economic cooperation.

While in Indonesia, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Hwang Woo-Yea held bilateral talks with Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Indonesia is very important for South Korea in terms of economic cooperation.

"Indonesia is very important for (South) Korea. It was the first country where we realized foreign investment. So from the standpoint of trade or investment, Indonesia is very important for us," Woo-Yea affirmed on the sidelines of the Asian-African Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center on Thursday.

Indonesia and South Korea discussed potentials of establishing cooperation, particularly in the fields of infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. Both nations have long cooperated in developing chemical, defense and steel industries.

Moreover, President Jokowi had a bilateral meeting with Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Peoples Assembly of North Korea Kim Yong-nam.

"North Korea expressed its appreciation and gratitude to Indonesia for hosting the 60th anniversary celebrations of the AAC to seek ways to foster South-South Cooperation and to build Asia and Africa as one group," spokesman for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arrmanatha Nasir stated.

He added that President Jokowi had expressed his happiness for the presence of North Korea, and had also agreed to points raised by Kim Yong-nam on South-South Cooperation.

Furthermore, Indonesia and South Africa also agreed to increase economic cooperation, including in the energy and industrial fields. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Vice President Jusuf Kalla and South African Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"Economic cooperation between Indonesia and South Africa is still low. We are trying to increase it through various sectors, including the energy and other industrial sectors," Kalla said.

He pointed out that the two countries did not only share a history of a similar political struggle, but also have abundant coal resources.

President Jokowi also held bilateral talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during which both sides agreed to encourage trade cooperation between the nations.

He called for both nations to increase cooperation in the trade field further. While they discussed the opening of market opportunities for Indonesian products, particularly chemical and pharmaceutical products, Jokowi also asked for market access for Indonesias palm oil, coal, motor vehicles, electrical equipment and weapons.

Moreover, on the issues of illegal fishing and fish theft, Indonesia and Thailand discussed conducting a joint effort to eliminate the practices that harmed the interests of both countries.

Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto revealed that President Jokowi and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O. Cha held a bilateral meeting to discuss the matter. "The primary subject deliberated over was cooperation to eliminate illegal fishing," he said.

On Thursday, Indonesia also met with Rwanda. Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Prime Minister of Rwandan Anastase Murekezi agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in various fields.

The agreement was reached on the sidelines of the AAC events, according to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fields that Indonesia and Rwanda agreed to reinforce included trade, investment, and technical cooperation, as well as those of social affairs and culture.

In addition, in a talk with Singapore, Indonesia agreed to cooperate in the handling of corruption and money theft cases.

The bilateral meeting was held on the sidelines of the AAC between President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the agreement, President Joko Widodo lauded the Singaporean government for the protection granted to Indonesian migrant workers and its citizens in Singapore.

On the occasion, he also invited investors to avail investment opportunities in the field of infrastructure.

Over the last five years, Singapore became one of the largest contributors of foreign direct investment in Indonesia.

With regard to cooperation with Vietnam, Indonesia agreed with the country to strengthen ties in the defense sector.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tang Sang agreed to strengthen defense cooperation between the nations, Widjajanto affirmed.

"This defense cooperation will be strengthened particularly through a joint military exercise, joint sea patrol activities, and the transfer of military technology," he noted.

The two leaders also discussed the ongoing talks on their maritime boundaries, in which they hoped for the problem to soon be resolved, he stated.

"The negotiation process has run well and will end with an agreement that will confirm the two countries territorial sovereignty," Widjajanto remarked.(*)

Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2015