Indonesian Ambassador's Remarks at the Diplomatic Reception Commemorating the 68th Anniversary of Indonesian Independence








- Excellency Mr. Ri Ryong Nam, Minister of Foreign Trade;

- Excellency Mr. Edward Pietrzyk, Dean of Dipl Corps;

- Dear Ambassadors and Madames;

- Distinguished Guests;

- Ladies and Gentlemen.


       First of all, I welcome you all to this dinner reception. It is one to commemorate the 68th Anniversary of the Indonesian Independence the day before yesterday on the 17th of August.


         It was 68 years ago, Indonesia proclaimed its independence. That moment was historic  when the Indonesian people took the fate of their actions and the fate of their country into their own hands,  after going through the struggle for freedom from colonialism for decades or even for hundreds of years. Only a nation bold enough to take its fate into its own hands and take charge of their own destiny will be able to stand in strength. And in the morning of the 17th of August 1945, Mr. Soekarno and Mr. Hatta in the name of the people of Indonesia declared the independence of Indonesia.


         As the Indonesian people celebrates the Independence Day with joy and much blessing, flying the national flag “Red and White” and singing the national anthem “Indonesia Raya”, one can’t avoid but to reflect that Indonesia has gone through up-and-downs in its journey since its independence 68 years ago in 1945. But along the way, it has weathered in strength, it has been resilient, it has continued to adapt to change and every time it re-invented itself. We didn’t look back, but we moved on with all the challenges and opportunities up ahead. Suffice it to say, Indonesia today is a country with a different form and profile, but to adhere the same State Philosophy of Pancasila.


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


         On domestic sphere, under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the two terms of office almost, home-grown democratization in Indonesia continues to broaden vibrantly.  Indonesia exemplifies that democracy and development can be pursued simultaneously in the way to achieve positive results in both fronts. Further more, being the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia has proven that Islam, democracy and modernity not only can co-exist but thrive together. Certainly, as Indonesia’s middle class expands, democratic process in Indonesia has created a greater push for strong and stable economic growth for the benefit of the people.


         Indonesian economy keeps growing. It has received upgrades by major rating agencies world wide. Indonesia is today termed as an “emerging” country to describe the dynamic nature of its economy.  Over and over, pundits suggested Indonesia to become a member  in the grouping of emerging economies, such as in IBRIC and in MIST among others. Indeed, the performance of the Indonesian economy has improved. Indonesia is projected by International BBVA Research to be able to contribute 2.3 % to global growth up until the year 2020, ranking the fourth among the top ten Eagle economies projected to contribute to global growth in the same years.  These projections are flattering. But Indonesia did have a GDP of more than 946 billions US Dollar in 2012, a purchasing power parity passes the threshold of 1 trillion US Dollar in the same year, and with the expected growth of 6.2 % this year.     


         Indonesia is not without its problems.  Like in other countries, poverty remains as one of the pressing problems in Indonesia. And Indonesia has been working hard to tackle it. The goal of the development strategy has never been about wealth alone. It is about shared wealth and economic justice. The dividend of growth is being shared across the country and is to promote more employment in the suburban and in rural areas without exception. Intensifying rural empowerment and agricultural development as well as spreading the availability of micro-credit are on going. While significant progress in reducing poverty has been made in Indonesia, more programs are needed to comprehensively address the problem. And on this issue, it is well noted that FAO in June this year conferred an award on Indonesia for its consistent efforts to reduce poverty and starvation in the country.


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


         Bilaterally, Indonesia and DPR Korea have had a relationship starting before the two countries agreed on the establishment of an ambassador-level relations in 1964. In the same year 1964, President Soekarno – Indonesian Independence proclamator in 1945 – made a state visit to DPR Korea. The kind of friendship that makes up the relations between Indonesia and DPR Korea which has existed ever since will continue along side the difference in histories and political systems that the two nations have.


         Coming to the latest rapport of bilateral relations, the past year saw the working visit to  DPR Korea by Dr. Andi Malarangeng, Indonesian State Minister for Youth and Sport in September 2012. The visit was the first one of a ministerial-level to DPR Korea in almost 10 years after 2004. It was a fruitful visit. The various different areas of cooperation which the Ministry of Sport of the two countries committed to work on include sport friendship tournaments, exchange of coaches, and cooperation on sport science.


         In the past year too, the Indonesian Delegation from the Ministry of Culture and Creative Economy visited DPRK in April 2013 to participate in Kimilsungia Festival, an annual flower festival in Pyongyang. This was after the Indonesian Embassy in cooperation with the Committee of the Festival in Pyongyang managed to discuss with Jakarta not to cancell the visit amid the situation at the time. Kimilsungia flower is a specially bred Dendrobium orchids which has its origin from Indonesia. Indeed, an Indonesian Delegation from Indonesia has to attend every year in April when the Festival is held in Pyongyang.


         The latest one was when Mrs. Meutia Hatta Swasono was invited by the Korean Committee of Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries to visit DPR Korea in July 2013 when the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in Korean Liberation War was commemorated in the country. Mrs. Meutia Hatta Swasono is a Member to the Presidetial Advisory Council on Education and Cultural Affairs. And the Indonesian Embassy was very pleased and honored to be able to be with her and her Delegation most of the time when she was in Pyongyang.


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


         Despite progress being made, much can still be done to realize the much potentials in bilateral relations between Indonesia and DPR Korea, especially in the economic field. In trade relations for example, albeit under difficult circumstances, the total volume of bilateral trade reached to the value of about 62 .5 million US dollar in 2012, compared to 38.2 million US dollar in 2011. Perhaps, that was the best ever it can be done by the two countries which are geographically far apart. Indonesia and DPR Korea should put more efforts to explore ways and means as to how the bilateral economic relations could be further increased in the way that would benefit the people of both countries.


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


         On regional front, the Indonesian Embassy together with other ASEAN Countries’ Embassies in Pyongyang celebrated the 46th Anniversary of the Founding of ASEAN eleven days ago on the 8th of August. At this opportunity, I want to quote Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa that ASEAN constitutes an inseparable part of the Indonesia’s foreign policy, the past, the present and the future.  In Pyongyang, the Indonesian Embassy has had the honor and privilege to hold the Chairmanship of the ASEAN Committee in Pyongyang or the ACP for a six-month term from November 2012 to April 2013. Since it was founded in April 2012, the ACP is felt to have played an important role. The role not  only as an organization through which the five Embassies have been able to come up with collective approaches in promoting the ASEAN’s interests and identify in DPR Korea, but as well as a forum in which effective and beneficial exchanges of views on different issues and challenges at hand have taken place.


         An international peace activist since the nation’s birth, Indonesia strives to make its best. It strives along with all its ASEAN friends to promote peace and stability in Southeast Asia and beyond. Indeed, the contribution of ASEAN has extended beyond its own region proper. In ASEAN Regional Forum for example, the forum in which DPR Korea is a participant, the issue of the Korean Peninsula has always been discussed. And the latest position of ASEAN has been for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. For Indonesia, this position is far-flung. Indonesia is a Party to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Indonesia is known also a strong advocate to the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. Beyond Southeast Asia, Indonesia together with ASEAN has worked ceaselessly to create and develop the habit of engagement and dialogue among countries in order to manage and prevent potential conflicts or to resolve them.


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


       On that note, I want to end my remarks. Thank you for accepting our invitation to celebrate the 68th Anniversary of the Indonesian Independence. I would now like to propose to you to join me   in  a  toast: for the good health of Excellency Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of the Korean People; for the good health of Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; for peace and prosperity of both the people of Indonesia and of DPR Korea; for the happiness of all of us attending this reception.


         Thank you.

                                                                                                                   Pyongyang, 19 August 2013