Laos - President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo highlighted illegal fishing issues when conveying the importance of maritime cooperation during the 29th ASEAN Summit retreat at the National Convention Center, Laos.
“To me, maritime cooperation [among ASEAN countries] must address sources of conflict in the sea, such as illegal fishing, territorial dispute, kidnapping, and armed robbery,” President Jokowi said in Laos, as quoted from a press release issued by the Cabinet Secretariat on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.
President Jokowi viewed that mechanisms implemented in ASEAN had not been optimized yet to address the issues. Jokowi argued that ASEAN’s forums, such as ASEAN Plus Three, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the East Asia Summit (EAS) had not fully guaranteed security in the region when a number of activities in South East Asia potentially escalated tensions and caused open conflicts.
“Therefore, we need a robust, comprehensive security architecture that can improve ASEAN’s centrality and contribute more effectively to the security and stability in the region,” he added. “Don’t let sea crime becomes a new normal.”
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued the statement in response to a number of incidents involving Indonesia over the last few months. One of the incidents was the kidnapping of Indonesian nationals by Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf.
Another incident was illegal fishing in the Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. Chinese-flagged fishing vessels previously entered the territory attempting to poach fishes.
Since the beginning, Indonesia had predicted that stability issues and conflicts would be brought up in the ASEAN Summit this year. Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi confirmed that the issues with the South China Sea would be discussed in the ASEAN Summit by Indonesian and other countries.