Beijing [02 April 2012] – Upon invitation by the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), Boao,
2 - 4 April 2012, the Indonesian Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China
and Mongolia Mr. Imron Cotan
spoke as one of the panelists together with former Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore,
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai of Vietnam and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong of Thailand,
discussing about the ASEAN – China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and regional
The discussion was shepherded by Yang Rui, one of the
leading news anchors at CCTV-News channel, who started the debate by casting
his doubts over the possibility of Asian nations, ASEAN countries in
particular, to integrate themselves politically and economically, arguing that
they are too diverse to do so.
In response, the panelists were all optimistic that regional integration would
be reached by countries in the region, in particular by ASEAN countries,
despite the differences in their levels of development as well as their
economic and political systems. ASEAN countries were even optimistic to form an
ASEAN Community by 2015.
Indonesian Ambassador, however, stressed that regional integration could only
be achieved if and when intra and inter-ASEAN integrations were in place so as
the movement of people, goods, and services could be conducted easily,
cost-effectively, and swiftly. It is against this backdrop that ASEAN's
archipelagic states have to redouble the efforts to construct their air, sea
and land transportation infrastructures, to boost integration among ASEAN countries
as well as between them with the region and the rest of the world.
Accordingly, the Ambassador of Indonesia invited BFA's participants to
participate in a series of mega-projects offered by the Indonesian
government as contained in the Master Plan of the Expansion and Acceleration of
Indonesian Economy (MP3EI) 2011-2025 amounting to US$ 600 billion. Some
participants promised to come and visit Indonesia to further explore these
As to the regional integration, the Ambassador of Indonesia stated that ASEAN
countries would continue to rely on ASEAN+1 and ASEAN+3 as the main vehicles to
chart the regional architecture, while gradually nurturing the East Asia Summit
(EAS) whose format and agenda were still evolving.
It is within this context that Indonesia is still cautious in approaching the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) although Indonesia is open to an initiative in
which outside powers might play a role in this region, provided it was meant to
promote peace, stability, and prosperity for all.
After the session, former President Fidel V. Ramos of the Phillipines
approached Ambassador Imron Cotan
and said he completely agreed to the points being raised.
BFA was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang
of China. Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy, Prime
Minister Raza Gillani of
Pakistan, Prime Minister Karim Masimov
of Khazakstan, and
former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan, chair of
BFA, were also in attendance.