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The 9th ASEM Summit, Laos, 6 November 2012

Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

Mr. Chairman, Your Excellency Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, I wish to thank you for the opportunity to be one of the lead speakers under this agenda. And If I may, on behalf of the delegation, I also wish to thank you for the sumptuous dinner last night. We had the distinct pleasure to watch a splendid cultural performances during the gala dinner, which not only showed the beauty and splendour of Laotian culture, but also inspired all of us on the noble goals of ASEM. More over we were also inspired by the romantic songs played last night, and in particular the song “We Are The World” has rekindled the spirit of brotherhood among us.

I noted that a number of previous speakers have called for greater collaboration in ASEM to create a conducive global environment. I believe ASEM can live up to this expectation—to achieve a peaceful, just, prosperous, and sustainable world.

It cannot be denied that a peaceful, just, prosperous, and sustainable world that we are aspiring for, is now confronted with serious problems and challenges. In fact, to a certain degree, we are experiencing a crisis. This is a situation that I deeply regret. It contradicts the overall picture of the post-world war, which actually shows some degree of optimism. This is marked by the absence of either major wars or proxy wars. More countries enjoy greater prosperity and economic stability. And more countries embrace democratic system of governance.

It is therefore our responsibility and mission to overcome, or at least lessen, those challenges and crises. We have multi-tasks ahead of us to maintain and strengthen every progress that we had made at the early years of the twenty-first century. And within ASEM, we should be clear on what we must and can do together.

Let me now share with you my opinions and suggestions on how best we can respond to those challenges. In particular, I will address four critical areas of economy, justice, international peace and security, and earth sustainability.

On economy, I believe that global prosperity can only be attained if our economy grows with equity. In the long-run, the global economy must continue to grow in a strong, balanced, inclusive, and sustainable way. As the global economic crisis persists, we still need to take a number of measures at national, regional, and global levels.

First, together we must sustain, and if possible increase, our economic growth.

Second, we must keep our trade and investment open.

Third, we must secure global financial stability.

Fourth, we must attain job security and price stability.

And fifth, we must provide social protection for countries that are experiencing economic difficulties.

On justice, it is highly important that we build a more just world. One way to achieve this objective is to end poverty, especially abject poverty, and to ensure the full realization of the MDGs.

As you are all aware, the timeframe of achieving the MDGs targets will expire in 2015. In this regard, the UN Secretary-General has appointed a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons to develop a Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Panel is expected to submit their report to the UN in May 2013, and this report will then be discussed through a multilateral process in the UN.

In my view, the post-2015 Development Agenda must retain each of the MDGs goals, while at the same time adding two or three new goals, including the protection of the environment. The main objective is to ensure the success of the MDGs, particularly in ending global poverty. It is without a doubt that international cooperation is essential to achieve those goals more effectively.

On international peace and security, our main task is to prevent and end wars, including civil wars.

Nowadays, we still encounter wars and armed conflicts that inflict heavy civilian casualties. In this regard, both the UN and regional organizations must strengthen their role. In the case of Syria, we are discouraged by our failure to end heavy casualties among civilians. We are deeply concerned with the UN Security Council’s inability to reach an agreement to end the bloodsheds. What is urgently needed now is an immediate ceasefire, that at best, should be imposed and supervised by the UN and regional organizations. At the same time, we must also prevent and put acts of terrorism to an end. In this connection, law enforcement, international cooperation, and education are imperative. We must also deal with the conditions that can trigger acts of terrorism, such as abject poverty, mis-teaching of religions, and defamation of religion.

In my opinion, defamation of religions poses a serious danger and burdens countries like Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population. It instigates radicalism, even among those who are normally moderate and tolerant.

It is therefore important that we promote inter-faith and intra-faith dialogues, including through global inter-media dialogue. I am pleased to mention that this inter-media dialogue, which is aimed to prevent provocation and agitation, is a result of joint efforts between Indonesia and Norway. On earth sustainability, more must be done to improve our cooperation in addressing this challenge. I believe we can develop concrete cooperation in the field of renewable energy, in creating cleaner hybrid and green car, and also in protecting the forest through forest management. An example of Asia-Europe cooperation is the REDD+ program between Indonesia and Norway. Other area of possible cooperation between Asia and Europe on this climate change, renewable energy and green car issue is on the promotion of research and development, technology sharing, and joint-investment.

I have no doubt that we can also promote cooperation concerning environmental goods. We proactively engage in and are committed to discussions with relevant international NGOs, such as Green Peace, WWF, and Natural Conservancy to ensure global compliance. Within those discussions, we strive to promote greater capacity as to produce goods and services that are environmentally friendly. Not only do we engage in such non-tariff measures, but we also show our commitment in reducing tariff for environmentally friendly goods as has been agreed at the recent APEC Summit.


To conclude, let me now leave you with some food for thoughts.

Each country as well as regional and international organization, such as EU, ASEAN, ASEM, and other important regional forums, can do so much more to overcome the challenges. They must also produce more concrete results. Both bilateral and multilateral cooperation must focus on addressing critical global issues.

As a final thought, I am of the view that our future cooperation should also prioritize the following agendas.

First, we must keep our efforts towards the recovery of the global economic growth. Second, we must safeguard food and energy security. Third, we must improve harmony among faiths and civilizations. And fourth, on Syria, we together must do our utmost to end the conflict.

I thank you.

Wassalaam’alaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatuh

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