Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has urged for relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialog partners to be harmonized to build a regional plan, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

According to a statement received here on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi attended a meeting with dialog partners of ASEAN after participating in the 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

During the meetings with ASEANs dialog partners, Marsudi lauded the positive developments achieved so far in cooperation.

"Mutually beneficial cooperation will contribute to the development of ASEAN and the entire region," the minister said.

In the economic field, she believes that cooperation in trade and investment, including in the infrastructure projects within the ASEAN-Japan initiative, could ensure even and integrated distribution of economic growth.

She also emphasized the importance of interactions among the business communities of ASEAN and those from dialog partners, including small and medium businesses. This is done as part of the ASEAN-Canada and ASEAN-European cooperation.

Moreover, the Indonesian government has expressed its commitment to maximize trade potentials with dialog partners, through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade area that has successfully increased trade between ASEAN and Australia by 12.3 percent.

To increase maritime cooperation, Minister Marsudi has urged dialog partners to participate to boost connectivity and fight illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities.

She laid special emphasis on the importance of cooperation to improve connectivity and maritime infrastructure between ASEAN and China, to facilitate trade and relations among people of both nations.

With regard to peoples relations, she stated that the Indonesian government has encouraged continued efforts to develop various programs with dialog partners, including exchange of students and youth activities such as the ASEAN-Russia Youth Summit.

The 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was officially opened by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur on August 3. It was held till Thursday, August 6.

The Indonesian delegation attended a total of 28 meetings, including 16 meetings related to the ministerial meet and 12 bilateral meetings with Malaysia, China, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Korea, the European Union, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.

Among the issues discussed at the ministerial meet were strengthening of maritime diplomacy among member states of ASEAN, efforts to advance discussions on legal instruments to protect migrant workers, discussions on granting ASEAN membership to Timor-Leste, and the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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