KOMPAS.com – Indonesia and Japan ministers held a four-way meeting on economic and security issues in Tokyo recently.
In attendance were Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, and Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
In other news, Indonesia hopes to welcome back vaccinated foreign tourists by the middle of this year, to be precise around June to July, the month when travel restrictions may be lifted.
Below are excerpts from the stories in Indonesia, curated by Kompas.com editors:
Indonesian Ministers Discuss Security, Economic Issues in Tokyo Meet
Indonesia and Japan discussed a series of issues ranging from tensions with China, the Myanmar crisis to economic loans in Tokyo on Monday.
The meetings took place during the visit of Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to Japan.
During the meeting with her Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu, Retno expressed her thoughts about China’s use of force to unilaterally change the status quo in the Asia-Pacific region.
“[Foreign Minister Motegi] conveyed his concerns about China, particularly Beijing’s Coast Guard Law and heightened tensions in East China and South China Seas,” a statement issued by the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta said on Monday.
Retno also conveyed Indonesia and other ASEAN members' attempts to resolve tensions there, after the country's military overthrew democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government last February.
Motegi condemned the Myanmar military junta’s violent crackdown on protests, which killed hundreds of people.
However, he hailed ASEAN’s attempts to resolve the Myanmar crisis peacefully, notably Indonesia’s leading part of his respect for Indonesia’s leadership role in reaching this goal.
Retno and Motegi also “pledged to uphold a free and transparent international order based on the supremacy of law, so as to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity for the international community that [both countries] can adhere to.”
Bilaterally, Motegi announced that Japan will aid Indonesia by providing a cold chain supply scheme worth 400 million yen ($3.61 million) to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as bringing into existence a resilient, multi-tiered economic chain.
“Among the deals that are struck included are 70 million yen ($632,068) in aid to help build infrastructure in the deepwater port in Patimban [West Java] to bring about a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific [region]” and a further improved ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific region.”
However, Motegi urged the Indonesian government to revoke limits on Japanese food exports to Indonesia.
He also conveyed his condolences over the Makassar Cathedral suicide bombing which killed both bombers and wounded at least 20 others.
Meanwhile, Indonesia and Japan are expected to strike deals on defense systems and transfer technology soon. Prabowo and his Japanese counterpart Nobuo Kishi are expected to ink the agreement during their meeting and the meeting of both countries’ foreign ministers, according to the Kyodo News media outlet.
Indonesia hopes to welcome back vaccinated foreign tourists by the middle of this year, to be precise around June to July, the month when travel restrictions may be lifted.
"We continue to finalize the preparation for the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement in Bali, Batam, and Bintan. For Bali, there are three areas included, namely Nusa Dua, Sanur, and Ubud,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno said in a weekly press briefing at the ministry's building in Jakarta Monday, March 29.
Sandiaga hoped that everyone in the sector of tourism and the creative economy in the green zones, areas with zero coronavirus cases, will be prioritized in receiving Covid-19 vaccination to create herd immunity.
"However, if the [workers] are unwell, we hope that business owners and tourism operators offer more flexibility for staff and should not lay off employees.
This is a very tough time for the tourism and the creative economy industry,” said Sandi.
He urged all people, including those in the green zones, to continue to implement health protocols, so that they become more ready to welcome foreign tourists when they are allowed to enter Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the Safe Travel Corridor Arrangement will cover the green zones. In the context of Bali, for example, the green zones are part of what officials describe as a Covid-free corridor, where all residents and people who conduct businesses within Ubud, Sanur, and Nusa Dua, will be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati or popularly known as Cok Ace disclosed the plan for the Bali-China travel corridor during a webinar held on Thursday, March 25.
Under the plan, the tourists from China who have been vaccinated in their country will be allowed to come to Bali through this corridor.
Indonesia Steps Up Diplomacy Efforts to Avoid Vaccine Stockouts
The Indonesian government continues to ensure uninterrupted availability of the Covid-19 vaccine amid the ongoing nationwide mass vaccination program, an official said on Tuesday, March 30.
National Covid-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said that the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Health Ministry step up their diplomacy efforts to secure vaccine supplies from vaccine-producing countries.
This remark came after Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that Indonesia may have the potential to experience vaccine stockouts in April.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health will do it in any way they can to ensure the availability of the vaccine supplies amid the inoculation program by pursuing diplomacy efforts with other countries,” Wiku told Kompas.com on Tuesday, March 30.
However, Wiku did not elaborate on a certain type of vaccine. He only said that the government will ensure that the vaccines are safe, effective, halal, and have been authorized for emergency use.
The government, said Wiku, will ensure that the mass vaccination program will be done according to the schedule. “For the long-term plan, the government will continue to intensify the domestic vaccine procurement,” he said.
Previously, Health Minister Budi said that the Covid-19 vaccine supply in the country will be running low after the two shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Indonesia are temporarily postponed.
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