Vietnamese President's visit to Indonesia marks new milestone in bilateral ties

December 20, 2022 - 07:37
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President Phuc are scheduled to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in the East Sea and several other regional as well as international issues.
Veeramalla Anjaiah, senior researcher at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) in Indonesia. VNA/VNS Photo

JAKARTA — Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s state visit to Indonesia will mark a new milestone in the unique and long relationship between the two countries, Veeramalla Anjaiah, a senior researcher at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) in Indonesia, has said.

Talking with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)'s resident reporters in Jakarta ahead the visit to Indonesia from December 21-23, the researcher said that in the fast changing world, both Indonesia and Việt Nam are looking for new approaches and ways to deepen their cooperation and friendship to ensure peace, stability and economic development in the region.

Veeramalla, who is also a senior journalist of the Jakarta Post and author of prestigious studies on regional issues, said: “The friendship between both countries is solid and very old. They are not only very good, old friends, maritime neighbours but also strategic partners. Việt Nam is a trusted friend of Indonesia.”

According to the scholar, during the visit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President Phúc are scheduled to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in the East Sea and several other regional as well as international issues.

The two leaders will also discuss ways and means to boost bilateral trade and expand cooperation in many fields. They will discuss investment opportunities in both countries and ways to promote people-to-people links through tourism.

They may also discuss the progress of bilateral negotiations about exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary and Indonesia’s 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship.

The two leaders will review the strategic partnership between the countries, which will be 10 years-old next year, Veeramalla said, adding that he expected after the visit of President Phúc, the strategic relations between the two countries will reach new heights.

“I expect that both leaders will consider to enhance the existing strategic partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP),” he said.

According to the researcher, Indonesia-Việt Nam relations recently witnessed new development steps. In July this year, the foreign ministers of Việt Nam and Indonesia attended the fourth meeting of the Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation in Jakarta and reviewed the progress of Plan of Action for the 2019-23 period for their strategic partnership. Both ministers agreed to expedite the finalisation of the Plan of Action for 2024-28 as a guidance for bilateral cooperation going forward to further solidify their partnership. The two countries set a new trade target of US$15 billion by 2028.

Indonesia and Việt Nam have agreed to promote the exchange of delegations and contacts at all levels, reduce barriers in trade and investment, signing at an early date a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral rice cooperation for the next four years, remove obstacles to create favourable conditions for cooperation in fields of fisheries, high technology and digital economy.

Both countries are eyeing partnership in areas like agriculture, fisheries, energy, aviation, culture, education-training, tourism and electric vehicles.

Indonesia and Việt Nam signed the Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2010 and the Declaration on Joint Vision on Defence Cooperation or Joint Vision Statement for 2017-2022 in 2017. They are planning to strengthen defence cooperation in joint production and capacity building between the defence industries of two countries.

The two countries are currently negotiating an MoU on Combating Illicit Narcotic Trafficking and an MoU on Counter-terrorism.

Veeramalla emphaised that the close friendship among the leaders is the key to the relationship between Việt Nam and Indonesia. Last year, Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính visited Indonesia and held talks with President Widodo.

In August 2022, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Nguyễn Phú Trọng held a telephone conversation with President Widodo. The Party chief proposed that both countries cement their relations and deepen economic cooperation and cooperation in defence and security.

In November 2022, PM Chinh had a bilateral meeting with President Widodo on the sidelines of the 2022 ASEAN Summits in Phnom Penh.

Talking about potential and opportunities for the two countries’ cooperation in the future, Veeramalla said that with its $1.36 trillion economy (GDP) and 280.77 million population and vast natural resources, Indonesia is undoubtedly a promising and dynamic country.

Meanwhile, Việt Nam with a population of over 99 million, is Southeast Asia’s manufacturing hub, having a total trade turnover of $668.54 billion in 2021, which is expected to reach $780 billion in 2022.

Việt Nam has recorded an impressive GDP growth during the first three quarters of this year despite of COVID-19 and the threat of global recession.

Both countries have huge potential to cooperate with each other in various areas such as agriculture, fisheries, energy, tourism, education, culture and defence.

As both Indonesia and Việt Nam are key players in the ASEAN region, they have similar perceptions about achieving a common goal of ASEAN community and maintaining peace and security in the region, especially in the East Sea.

He added that last year both countries agreed to maintain ASEAN’s shared positions on the East Sea issue, effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and early conclude negotiation on an efficient and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Both nations have similar perceptions about various global issues such as climate change, Russia-Ukraine conflict, peace, stability, inflation and work closely at various international organisations, the scholar added. VNS