Widodo vows stronger bilateral cooperation with Phl
Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed that his country is “honored” to have received the “first overseas visit” of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday.
In his speech at the Bogor Presidential Palace, Widodo stressed the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation in various sectors and regional cooperation in the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“On bilateral cooperation, I conveyed a few points. First, we encouraged a significant increase in our trade folio. Compared to last year, trade between Indonesia and the Philippines increased by almost 50 percent. Indonesia, in particular, encouraged the increase of export of food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, coconut, and seaweed products,” Widodo said.
The Indonesian leader said he invited Marcos to continue developing trade potentials as well as connectivity in border areas, particularly to revive shipping routes – Ro-Ro shipping routes between Bitung and Davao and reopening of Manado-Davao flight route.
“Second, on intensifying cooperation in infrastructure and strategic industries, a number of Indonesian state-owned enterprises (SOE) have participated in development programs in the Philippines,” Widodo said.
“For instance, the procurement project of two-landing platform dock vessels by PT PAL and railway signaling project in Manila by PT LEN. I hope that the planned purchase of NC212i aircraft from PT. Dirgantara can be realized,” he pointed out.
Thirdly, Widodo said, he talked about strengthening border cooperation, saying: “We agreed to review two border security agreements so that it remains relevant for communities in border areas and the revised Border Crossing Agreement and Border Patrol Agreement.”
He added that he and Marcos committed to improving negations on the delimitation of the continental shelf based on the 1982 UNCLOS.
“In the field of defense and security, we encouraged strengthening cooperation and safety and security of waters in border areas. I highly appreciate the signing of the Agreement on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defense and Security,” Widodo said.
He also expressed that he is glad that the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement between Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, has been renewed.
For him, this will “secure our waters from threats of hostage-taking and kidnapping.”
“On regional cooperation, we also discussed how to strengthen ASEAN and the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. I underlined the importance of strengthening ASEAN centrality and unity,” he added.
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