"Boasting a 260 million strong population and an economic output that represents almost 40-percent of the entire ASEAN region, Indonesia has long shared economic interest with South Korea. That cooperation is just about to get even strong AND far beyond the markets."
Indonesia pulled out all the stops for South Korean President Moon Jae-in complete with honor guard, children waving national flags, marching band and ceremonial cannon shots.
Despite the unexpected rain and gray skies, the presidents of South Korea and Indonesia shared ample amount of bonding from an extensive one-on-one on the balcony, tree-planting and even a surprise trip to a nearby mall in a buggy driven by Mr. Widodo himself.
Sharing the view that it is opportune for both to elevate their relationship to a whole new level, the two agreed to facilitate investment in various fields including tourism, energy, and infrastructure confirming new business deals worth 1.9 billion U.S. dollars.
"We have agreed to upgrade the South Korea-Indonesia relationship to a special strategic partnership in order to further cooperate in ensuring peace and prosperity in the entire Asian region.
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I asked President Widodo for Indonesia's active role in supporting our policy to strengthen relations with ASEAN member states."
Among some two dozen goals boosting bilateral trade volume from a little over 10-billion dollars today to 30 billion by 2022 and exploring new consultation mechanisms in the fields of foreign policy and defense.
(Bahasa Indonesian) (REUTERS 4114)
"Indonesia reaffirms our stance and urge North Korea to immediately comply with its obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula."
The Southeast Asian nation has traditionally had good relations with North Korea and is one of a few countries that maintains diplomatic ties with an embassy in Pyongyang.
"Having made his Southeast Asia debut here in Indonesia President Moon now moves on to Vietnam, the second-leg of his three-nation trip with his eyes fixed on the region as the North Asian economic powerhouse looks to curb its reliance on traditional trading partners AND rally support against North Korea.
Moon Connyoung, Arirang News, Jakarta.