10th EAST ASIA SUMMIT FOREIGN MINISTERS’ MEETING
via Video Conference, 9 September 2020
Today… EAS Foreign Ministers meet for the first time since the break of Covid-19.
During this pandemic… we have witnessed strategic geopolitical shifts… that affect peace, stability, and prosperity in East Asia.
Signs of increasing tensions are worrying .
Rivalries between major powers continue to intensify on many fronts.
For far too often… smaller countries find themselves trapped in the middle… and forced to take sides.
At the same time… more countries are resorting to unilateralism… and undermining international law… in their pursuit of national interest.
Tension and distrust are hardly recipes for international cooperation in the region… including against the pandemic.
I would like to raise three points:
FIRST… the EAS must serve as a positive force for peace and stability in the region.
Last month… the ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement… underlining the importance of principles embedded in ZOPFAN and TAC… amidst current geopolitical dynamics.
I call upon EAS partners to reaffirm their commitment to wards the respect for international law… renunciation of the threat or use of force… and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Rivalry will not benefit no one.
Let us focus our energy instead on forging closer and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region… with ASEAN as the driving force… in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
The EAS would serve as an important platform for strategic dialogue… to understand one another’s interest and concerns… and work on solutions.
SECOND… the EAS must contribute to the strengthening of regional health resilience.
In the short term… this translates into ensuring equitable and affordable access to vaccines… for our region.
Vaccine could be the turning point in our battle against this pandemic.
Many EAS countries are taking part in the development of COVID-19 vaccine… doors for cooperation should be widely opened.
In the long run… we could consider a network of disease control bodies in the EAS countries… to increase the health security in our region.
Indonesia will convene the EAS Health Experts Meeting next month… to identify more practical cooperation against the pandemic.
My last point… on the South China Sea issue, Indonesia urges all countries to respect universally recognized principles of international law, including upholding Unclos 1982 in the South China Sea.
By respecting international law we will see a peaceful and stable South China Sea
Entering its 15th anniversary… the EAS must remain relevant and effective… in responding to the rapidly evolving regional and global challenges.