South Korea, RI op­ti­mistic to boost ties

The Jakarta Post - - WORLD - In­dra Bu­di­ari

In­done­sia and South Korea are al­ready fa­mil­iar with each other and co­op­er­ate strongly. How­ever, both have af­firmed their in­ten­tions to ex­pand their re­la­tions.

Speak­ing dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of South Korea’s Na­tional Day and Armed Forces Day on Fri­day, Trade Min­is­ter Eng­gar­ti­asto Lukita said both coun­tries shared a com­mon de­sire to ad­vance true peace and pros­per­ity.

Eng­gar­ti­asto said cor­dial and ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two went be­yond eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion as In­done­sia would al­ways stand ready to con­trib­ute to peace on the Korean Penin­sula.

“To­gether we are build­ing a peace­ful re­gion based on a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship,” he said. The cel­e­bra­tion took place amid es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions on the Korean Penin­sula caused by an on­go­ing ex­change of threats be­tween North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

While both South and North Korea cel­e­brate Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion day on Aug. 15 to mark their lib­er­a­tion from Ja­panese oc­cu­pa­tion, South Korea also com­mem­o­rates Armed Forces Day on Oct. 1 to pay trib­ute to its mil­i­tary.

Eng­gia­r­ti­asto added that In­done­sia was South Korea’s 15th-largest trad­ing part­ner, while South Korea is In­done­sia’s sixth-largest.

In­done­sian ex­ports to South Korea dropped to about US$7 bil­lion in 2016 from $7.6 bil­lion in the pre­vi­ous year. Mean­while, im­ports fell by 20 per­cent to $6.67 bil­lion in 2016 from $8.42 bil­lion in 2015.

How­ever, two-way trade be­tween In­done­sia and South Korea has shown signs of in­creas­ing re­cently as it reached $9.3 bil­lion in the first half of this year, an in­crease from last year’s $7.8 bil­lion in the same pe­riod.

Pres­i­dent Joko “Jokowi” Wi­dodo has made two vis­its to South Korea since he was elected pres­i­dent in 2014. Dur­ing his lat­est visit in May 2016 Jokowi signed seven mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing cov­er­ing mar­itime is­sues, the cre­ative in­dus­try, anti-cor­rup­tion, for­est restora­tion, de­fense tech­nol­ogy and oth­ers.

Mean­while, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in is ex­pected to visit In­done­sia some­time soon in or­der to el­e­vate bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

Peo­ple-to-peo­ple re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries have also ex­panded in re­cent years with an in­crease of In­done­sians liv­ing in South Korea as the coun­try’s movies, fash­ion and mu­sic are also fa­vored by In­done­sians. Re­cent data sug­gests that about 50,000 Kore­ans live in In­done­sia, mak­ing it one of the big­gest for­eign com­mu­ni­ties in the archipelago.

“Korea is very fa­mous in In­done­sia and I’m im­pressed how K-pop is very pop­u­lar among In­done­sians,” the am­bas­sador said while show­ing pho­tos of Korean Pop mu­sic con­certs in Jakarta.

He also said that in the other side, In­done­sia was also fa­mous in Korea as mu­si­cians like in­die band Mocca had played in Korea re­cently, adding that a pro­gram about In­done­sia was quite pop­u­lar on Korean TV.

JP/Bangkit Jaya Pu­tra

Con­grat­u­la­tions: In­done­sia’s third pres­i­dent, BJ Habi­bie (cen­ter), shakes hands with South Korea’s am­bas­sador to In­done­sia, Chao Tai-yong, who was ac­com­pa­nied by his wife, Cho Gye-young (left), dur­ing their coun­try’s Na­tional Day and Armed Forces Day cel­e­bra­tions in Jakarta on Fri­day.

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