PH, Indonesia agree to further upgrade their bilateral relations

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (2-L) and his wife Louise Araneta-Marcos (L) smile with Indonesian President Joko Widodo (2-R) and wife Iriana Joko Widodo (R) during their meeting at Presidential Palace in Bogor, Indonesia, on September 5, 2022. Achmad Ibrahim, EPA-EFE/Pool/file

The Philippines and Indonesia have agreed to further upgrade their bilateral relations and cooperation  as they mark their 75 years of diplomatic ties this year.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo and Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi made the agreement during the 7th Philippines-Indonesia Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting held in Makati City. The 6th JCBC meeting was held in 2014. The next bilateral meeting will be held in Indonesia.

Marsudi said Indonesia and the Philippines are exploring ways to further improve economic cooperation, including boosting and finding new trade opportunities. Manalo said Manila has reiterated its commitment to implement the Philippine-Indonesia Plan of Action 2022-2027, which was signed on the sidelines of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to Jakarta in 2022.

On top of economic ties, Manalo said the plan of action covers the two states’ multifaceted cooperation in political and security, border issues, regional and global issues, and socio-cultural and people-to-people exchanges, among others.

“We are committed to continue implementing our plan of action towards further elevating our bilateral relations to new heights, especially as we mark the 75th anniversary of Philippines-Indonesia diplomatic relations this year,” Manalo said.

During the meeting, the two top diplomats also discussed geopolitical concerns both within and outside the region, including the West Philippine Sea, the crisis in Myanmar, and the raging Israel-Hamas war. On the West Philippine Sea, Marsudi said Jakarta is committed to work with all ASEAN member states to finalize the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

“We welcome statement on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia issued by ASEAN foreign ministers on December 30 last year. This is an important step to ensure the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity,” the Indonesia lady diplomat said.

The Philippines and Indonesia celebrate the 75th anniversary of their bilateral relations this year, which was officially established on November 24, 1949.