ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesia ready to be gateway to ASEAN
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has said that as the country with the largest population and the biggest economy in ASEAN, Indonesia was ready to become a gateway to the region.
"Indonesia is ready to become the gateway to ASEAN, and I think ASEAN must be ready to strengthen relationships with other economic blocs," he said at a media luncheon at the State Palace on Tuesday.
Jokowi said that 45 percent of ASEAN’s gross domestic product ( GDP ) came from Indonesia and more than a quarter of the total population of ASEAN were Indonesians. However, the President said, economic cooperation must bring prosperity to all Indonesian people.
When asked about the capability of Indonesia to assume leadership in the region, Jokowi said it depended on other ASEAN leaders.
The President said Indonesia was facing the same difficult conditions as other ASEAN nations as a result of the current global economic slowdown, and this was why Indonesia had implemented deregulatory measures.
He said there were two groups of countries: those that wanted reforms and those that did not want reforms. "Indonesia certainly wants reforms," he asserted.
Jokowi said the reforms centered on two principles, namely openness and competition.
"It is clear to us that Indonesia has to be open. It is not realistic for us to stay closed. Technology has made the world smaller, supply chains have changed and social media has made the world go faster," he went on.
The President further said integration among ASEAN countries was important. Communication and sharing information among ASEAN member countries was also critical.
"We have meetings [with other ASEAN members] as we want to strengthen our relationship with these countries," Jokowi said.
The Jakarta Post editor-in-chief Endy Bayuni said representatives of media companies in ASEAN had discussed a planned collaboration among them, which was aimed at helping to build the ASEAN Community. The media representatives agreed to set up an ASEAN journalist network, which would be used for program and story exchanges. Journalist exchanges were also among programs to be developed in the future.
"We want to move with a bottom-up approach instead of top down," he said.
Endy further said the ASEAN media organizations were preparing to organize an ASEAN media forum that would be held in Laos to coincide with the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of ASEAN on Aug.8, 2017.
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