President Jokowi welcomes ASEAN Travel Corridor Agreement

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) welcomed the issuance of the ASEAN Declaration on an ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) Framework at the 37th ASEAN Summit held virtually via videoconference.

President Jokowi earlier proposed the ASEAN Travel Corridor arrangement at the 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26, 2020.

"I warmly welcome that at this summit, we will issue an ASEAN Declaration on an ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework. To this end, the plan to implement the ASEAN TCA must be realized immediately," President Jokowi stated while delivering a speech at the 37th ASEAN Plenary Summit held virtually from the Bogor Palace, West Java, on Thursday.

President Jokowi sought quick and effective steps from the ASEAN Coordinating Council and ASEAN Sectoral Bodies to implement the TCA.

The head of state highlighted the importance of the ASEAN immediately realizing the establishment of temporary fast lanes and health protocols on departures and arrivals, use of integrated digital platforms in the region, determination of the port of entry, as well as provisions of strict health protocols.

"I am optimistic of the ASEAN TCA being operationalized in the first quarter of next year. This arrangement will raise optimism that our economic activities would gradually be reactivated by implementing health protocols in a disciplined manner. Our people cannot wait any longer. They want to see our region recover immediately," he expounded.

President Jokowi also aired optimism over the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) after ASEAN countries negotiated for around eight years.

"We have to demonstrate that this enormous economic integration would benefit our people," he explained.

President Jokowi conveyed the importance of ASEAN's role in maintaining regional peace and stability. The president opined that it was normal in the midst of rivalry between the two great world powers for each to want to attract the ASEAN to take sides.

In response to this situation, President Jokowi emphasized that the ASEAN must stand solid, maintain balance, continue to convey messages to bolster mutually beneficial cooperation, convey messages on the importance of partners respecting the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, and constantly deliver messages on the significance of respect for international law, including the UNCLOS 1982.

"With solidity and a strong commitment to advancing inclusive cooperation, the ASEAN will not be caught between these rivals. The ASEAN will be able to play a central role in the development of regional cooperation. Of course, this is not an easy thing. However, I am certain that with solidity and strong commitment, we will be able to run it," he remarked.


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