Jakarta, 4 September 2023 – ASEAN has enhanced cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between secretariats. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta, on 4 September 2023.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in her address emphasizes the significance of this cooperation in bolstering ASEAN’s relations with countries in the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions.
“Countries in the Indian and Pacific Oceans are an integral part of the Indo-Pacific region. We share the same region. What happens in the region will likely affect us all,” said Retno Marsudi.
Therefore, she continued, ASEAN and the countries in the Indian Ocean and Pacific must work together to maintain the region’s peace, stability, and prosperity. The Indo-Pacific should not become a stage for the rivalry of major powers or a battleground for conflicts originating elsewhere.
“This will only be possible when we uphold our shared values and principles, namely the collaboration paradigm instead of competition, win-win mentality instead of zero-sum, and engagement approach instead of exclusion,” she said.
Furthermore, ASEAN and the countries in the Indian Ocean and Pacific also face similar challenges and opportunities. Therefore, they must unite to overcome challenges and advance.
“Remember, if you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together. I am certain we all want to walk far,” said Retno Marsudi.
Therefore, ASEAN and the countries in the Indian Ocean and Pacific are intensifying concrete cooperation in various areas of common interest, such as the economy, maritime affairs, and climate change. They are also working together to enhance regional resilience and making this region a center of growth.
“Because we believe in inclusivity. We believe in walking further,” concluded the tForeign Minister of Republic of Indonesia Retno Marsudi.
The MoU contains agreements to strengthen concrete cooperation between secretariats in several priority areas, including maritime affairs, connectivity, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), blue economy, green economy, digital economy, and disaster management.
The MoU was signed by ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn, IORA Secretary-General Salman Al Farisi, and PIF Deputy Secretary-General Esala Nayasi. It was witnessed by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh as the Chair of IORA, and the Foreign Minister of the Cook Islands as the Chair of PIF.
IORA is an international organization consisting of 23 countries around the Indian Ocean, including Indonesia. Meanwhile, PIF has 18 Pacific member countries, with Indonesia participating as a dialogue partner.