INDONESIA-VIETNAM RELATIONS: CHALLENGE TO SE ASIA STABILITY

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno L.P Marsudi met Vietnam Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pham Binh Minh (Dec.23, 2019) Source: kemlu.go.id

Writer: Hendra Manurung is currently doctor candidate in international relations at Padjadjaran University, Bandung, West Java

During the Cold War era which involves the Soviet Union and the United States, Indonesia and Vietnam officially established diplomatic relations on 30 December 1955 with the opening of the Indonesian Consulate in Hanoi which was later upgraded to the Embassy on 10 August 1964.

President Ho Chi Minh and President Soekarno are two leaders who have laid the foundations for friendly relations between Vietnam and Indonesia. In its 65-year history, this relationship has been maintained and developed by generations of leaders and the people of the two countries to this day. In the midst of the rivalry between the US and China in the South China Sea region, the two countries in Southeast Asia need to continuously optimize efforts to maintain and develop strategic relations in the region.

Indonesia’s relations with Vietnam began in 1955. At that time, Mr. Soedibjo Wirjowerdojo is the first Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia who was appointed and assigned a diplomatic tour of duty to occupy a pioneering representative post at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia for Vietnam which is still domiciled in Hanoi.

Vietnam and Indonesia are members of ASEAN. Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri visited Vietnam in June 2003. At this time the two countries signed a “Declaration on a Framework for Friendly and Comprehensive Cooperation Entering the 21st Century”.

In May 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Hanoi, Vietnam. And in December of the same year celebrations were held in the respective capitals to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In April 2015, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Truong Tang San expressed his appreciation to the Indonesian government for organizing the 60th Asia Africa Summit Leaders Meeting. It is due to the political and economic benefits that were not only felt by the Asia Africa region but also experienced by the international community.

Vietnam hopes to increase and strengthen defense cooperation with Indonesia, especially in the provision of joint military training, transfer of military technology, and joint marine patrols.

Regarding maritime issues, Vietnam is optimistic about the prospect of negotiations with Indonesia. It is ensured that through continuous negotiations regarding maritime borders between the two countries so far has been going well, and will reach an agreement that affirms each other’s territorial sovereignty.

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo conveyed Indonesia’s commitment in overcoming the problem of illegal fishing, that this problem is a joint problem between Indonesia and Vietnam that must be resolved immediately.

Further, in October 2018, Indonesia and Vietnam also agreed to strengthen cooperation on economy, trade, and investment. Indonesia and Vietnam have intensified their bilateral cooperation in recent times. This reflects the high intensity of bilateral relations based on the Strategic Partnership of Indonesia and Vietnam in the Southeast Asia region, increasing bilateral trade, strengthening cooperation in a number of other fields such as negotiations on the exclusive economic zones of each country, eradicating illegal fishing, and cooperation to advance ASEAN, and enhance cooperation in both countries maritime sectors.

Jakarta appreciates the assistance of the Vietnamese government for barriers to Indonesia’s automotive exports to Vietnam.

Indonesian entrepreneurs should optimize new Vietnamese markets, particularly among others in relation to trade-economic cooperation of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

In the next 10 to 20 years, the increasing bilateral economic trade and investment relations between the two countries will benefit both parties in the future.

Jakarta and Hanoi also emphasized their position on the importance of maintaining a conducive situation in the South China Sea region, amidst Beijing’s nine-dash line claims that did not respect the 1982 UNCLOS.

Thus, regarding the South China Sea issue, Indonesia is willing to act as an honest broker by adhering to the Declaration of Conduct (DoC) and Code of Conduct (CoC) initiated by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In 2020, Viet Nam and Indonesia will both become non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The two neighboring countries in Southeast Asia need to boost political economy cooperation as well as strengthen both contributions to stability and peace in the region and globally, especially in response to the escalation of tensions related to the possibility of open conflict in the South China Sea region involving the US and China in the near future.

Furthermore, these two countries are strategic partners and agree to continue to push for the implementation of the Plan of Action for the period from 2019 to 2023, especially economic cooperation, increase bilateral trade, investment, progress in the field of air-connectivity, and finalize Exclusive Economic Zone negotiations.

Meanwhile, Indonesia supports ASEAN as a regional organization present in Southeast Asia to continue to advance the issue of women’s rights, peace, security, and the latest developments Rakhine State as one of the priorities for Vietnam’s chairmanship in 2020.

ASEAN needs to increase its role in helping solve the Rakhine State problem, including accelerating the repatriation process of refugees from Bangladesh in a voluntary, safe, and dignified manner. Both welcomed the involvement of ASEAN representatives in the Second High-Level Visit, from 17 to 20 December 2020 at Cox’s Bazaar.

It is also necessary to prioritize the review of the terms of reference of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights to achieve a balanced mandate between the promotion and protection of human rights in the region.

Apart from the importance of continuing ASEAN and Chinese negotiations regarding the progress of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC), which in 2020 will continue a second reading. The two countries agreed to emphasize that the COC must be substantive, effective, and implementable to create an area that is conducive to territorial dispute resolution.

To conclude, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this strategic partnership relationship between Vietnam and Indonesia must be maintained and it is ensured that it will develop faster and stronger for the sake of the national interests of the two countries, as well as maintaining regional peace, stability, and prosperity in the Southeast Asia and the South China Sea regions.

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2 thoughts on “INDONESIA-VIETNAM RELATIONS: CHALLENGE TO SE ASIA STABILITY

  1. Dear Takipci Satin Al,
    Thank you for reading the written article. I do appreciate for your comment and sharing it to your sister.
    I do hope you can also write many interesting topic and upload it to KIKE website.
    Cheers

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