KUALA LUMPUR, KOMPAS.com - Indonesia will be able to resolve internal and global issues involving member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) better and faster, especially as chair of the 10-nation regional bloc next year.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this is because the country has great influence and good economic cooperation with ASEAN member countries, as well as many other foreign countries.
“Indonesia is a very influential country with an economic alliance with ASEAN countries that is able to attract a lot of investment. Indonesia is (also) able to resolve other internal issues that occur, such as the South China Sea issue, the political crisis in Myanmar, and its ethnic Rohingyas.
“I believe Indonesia can resolve all these issues quickly, provided it has the support of other ASEAN member countries.
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“I am also confident that not only Malaysia but also other ASEAN member countries will also cooperate with Indonesia as the ASEAN chair country.”
Ismail Sabri said this during a question and answer session with several media representatives in conjunction with his first anniversary as prime minister.
On Aug. 21 last year, he took over the country’s number one position after Muhyiddin Yassin announced his resignation as the eighth prime minister, following the loss of support of the majority of Dewan Rakyat members.
Indonesia will chair Asean in 2023, taking over the seat from Cambodia this year.
Commenting further on ASEAN, Ismail Sabri said member countries of the regional bloc are once again calling for an expedited negotiation of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC).
He said the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) should be complied with also by China so that the situation improves.
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“Every time the ASEAN Summit is held and when issues involving ASEAN and China arise, almost all ASEAN member countries raise the issue of the South China Sea and the need for China to comply with UNCLOS 1982.”
“UNCLOS 1982 is an international law that should be complied with. Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are among countries that are directly affected by China's policies, especially in relation to the position of these countries on the nine-dash line.”
“If China can comply with the COC, many issues can be resolved. Freedom of navigation needs to be respected by all parties,” he added.
Most recently, the international media reported that ASEAN this year aims to complete the COC to prevent armed confrontation in the South China Sea.
Responding to questions about escalating tensions between China and the United States after the controversial visit of the speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan recently, Ismail Sabri insisted that Malaysia maintained its firm adherence to the One China Policy.
Ismail Sabri said that at the same time, the United States and Taiwan also have bilateral relations.
Pelosi is the most senior US politician to visit the island nation in 25 years. China considers the self-governing island as its territory under the One China Policy.
China unleashed a show of force against Taiwan, conducting massive military exercises after Pelosi left the island on Aug. 3. International media reported that Chinese troops were moved into Taiwan’s waters, disrupting a major route.
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