Minister Wiranto says ASEAN remains Indonesia's foreign policy priority

Wiranto says Indonesia would focus more on the G20 cooperation with major economies.

Indonesia said on Saturday that Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will remain its foreign policy priority and it will contribute more to Southeast Asia's growth and unity amidst regional challenges.

During a speech at the 2016 Conference on Indonesian Foreign Policy, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said Indonesia would focus more on the G20 cooperation with major economies. He said ASEAN had and would always be the major interest of Indonesia's foreign policy.

"Indonesia will always be with ASEAN through every rise and fall. ASEAN contribution to the world cannot be underestimated by anyone and the member states have also built deep trust with each other," Wiranto told The Jakarta Post.

Foreign Ministry director general for ASEAN cooperation Jose Tavares said that although Indonesia took part in global cooperation through other international forums but ASEAN has always been the country's foreign policy.

"Indonesia will never leave ASEAN. The regional cooperation will keep continuing because [Southeast Asian countries] are our important neighbors," Jose said.

He stressed that Indonesia would further strengthen its leadership with the regional body. This would ensure that all the member states will stand unitedly in order to overcome regional conflicts and challenges.

Earlier this month, China also expressed its desire to work closely with ASEAN to "dispel interference" and to handle the disputed South China Sea issue.

Although, the Foreign Ministry of China did not elaborate on this but Premier Li Keqiang said that the situation in the South China Sea is moving towards a positive direction with joint efforts from China and ASEAN members.

According to him, peace and stability in the disputed waters were related to prosperity and development of countries in the region.