The prospects for future co-operation with Indonesia remain very positive with Indonesia currently the largest economy in the region, while Vietnam has enjoyed the second fastest economic growth in Southeast Asia this year.
|A workshop reviews 65 years of Vietnam-Indonesia relations in Hanoi (Source: KBRI Hanoi)|
Ties between the two sides began 65 years ago when Indonesia became the first country in Southeast Asia to officially establish diplomatic relations with the nation. In 2013, the two sides upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership, with the country currently being the only strategic partner of Indonesia in Southeast Asia. As such, the joint strategic partnership has become the catalyst for the causes of peace and prosperity in the region.
Bilateral relations between both sides are currently at their highest level due to enjoying a strong strategic partnership. As a means of implementing this strategic co-operation, both countries signed the Action Plan for the 2014 to 2018 period, which was later extended by the Action Plan for the 2019 to 2023 period. The agreements involves the fields of co-operation, diplomacy, and politics being considered as the most prominent areas.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Pham Vinh Quang said, “Vietnam and Indonesia are two countries with a similar culture and history of fighting for national independence and self-reliance, whilst playing an important role in Southeast Asia and the region. The two countries’ relationship was built on a solid foundation laid by President Ho Chi Minh and President Soekarno.
Both nations are a reliable strategic partner of each other, with the maintenance of regular meetings between their senior leaders, as well as a close co-operation framework between ministries, sectors, and localities.”
With regard to economic co-operation, the initial five years of the Action Plan saw two-way trade increase by 60% from US$5.6 billion in 2014 to US$9.1 billion in 2019.
In line with the Action Plan for the 2019 to 2023 period, the two countries agreed to set a commercial target of US$10 billion by 2020. Despite this, the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected this target. Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam, Ibnu Hadi affirmed that this goal is achievable due to the two countries successfully overcoming the pandemic and striving for economic recovery.
According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, total bilateral trade turnover reached a sum of US$5.73 billion over the past nine months of the year, an annual decline of 12.35%.
Indonesia's export value to the country during the reviewed period hit US$3.76 billion, a drop of 7.12% from last year’s figure of US$4.04 billion. In addition, Indonesia's import value from the nation stood at US$1.97 billion, down by 20.84% to US$2.49 billion in 2019.
Furthermore, political and economic co-operation, along with cultural, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges, represent one of the most important pillars in the relationship between the two sides. This is due to them contributing to promoting understanding among the citizens of both countries, thereby becoming a catalyst for strengthening co-operation across a variety of fields.
At present, the Vietnamese community in Indonesia numbers approximately 300 people living in major cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, and Yogyakarta. In contrast, the Indonesian community in the country stands at roughly 900, with most living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In general, the communities of the two countries make certain contributions to their host nations.
Furthermore, Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air have launched direct flights between the two countries in an effort to help promote bilateral trade and co-operation moving forward. In 2019, the number of Indonesian tourists to the nation increased by 21.3% to 108,000, whilst as many as 80,000 Vietnamese travelers visited Indonesia.
Ambassador Hadi stated, “There were four direct flights between the two countries over the past two and three years to bring people from both nations closer together via travel, education, visits, and trade exchange. Although flights were suspended during the COVID-19 period, the bilateral relationship was maintained across multiple fields like education, economics, and social affairs.”
This year represents a remarkable period for mutual ties due to the two countries celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations, whilst there are plenty of opportunities to promote co-operation due to both being non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. This is in addition to the nation serving as Chairman of ASEAN 2020.
According to Ambassador Hadi, the COVID-19 pandemic marks both a challenge and an opportunity for the two countries to ramp up co-operation, especially in the fight against the global pandemic. Indeed, the country represents a success story in the fight against COVID-19 and has led the ASEAN region in overcoming the crisis during its year as ASEAN Chair.
The development of the joint strategic partnership will therefore contribute to enhancing ASEAN's central role, serving as a catalyst for solidarity and unity among the bloc, while also contributing to maintaining peace and stability, thereby promoting prosperity throughout the region and the wider world. VOV
As rotating ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam has made great efforts to ensure the bloc’s cooperation activities take place in a timely manner amid the COVID-19 pandemic, affirmed Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi.