Boao, 24 March 2016

Your Excellency Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China,

Honorable Chairman Yasuo Fukuda,

Distinguished Members of the Board of Directors and Council of Advisors of Boao Forum for Asia,

“Allow to begin by joining the previous speakers to express that Indonesia strongly condemns the heinous terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium, two days ago. We would like to extend to the government and people of Belgium deep condolences from the government and people of Indonesia particularly to the bereaved family of the victims.

“Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be here this morning to speak before such a distinguished audience. I thank the organizers of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2016, for inviting me to be part of this timely and important event.

This is my second time speaking at this conference. Like before, I am the Vice President of the world’s largest archipelagic country and the fourth most populous nation. These have not changed. However the world we live in today is nothing like it was in 2006.

The global economy is entering a new phase. It becomes more dynamic but uncertain. Over the last several years, commodity and oil prices decrease significantly while currency exchange move up and down erratically.

Despite various economic stimulus, many economies experience low GDP growth and face deflationary pressure. Public debt and budget deficit reach an alarming level in many countries.

Asia, which represents around 60 percent of global population and nearly 40 percent world economy, needs to adapt to the new situation. Our ability to response the current condition and to anticipate the future challenges is crucial to mitigate the global economic slowdown.

Despite the growing connectivity, Asia is still a very diverse continent. It ranges from Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia. Each region has various history, characteristic and challenges. Large gap exist in politic as well as economy.

In economic development area, East and Southeast Asia are in better condition. The two regions consistently grow faster than peers in the other part of Asia.

This achievement is in part attributable to the ability of countries in the two regions to promote economic collaboration and to maintain regional stability.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

Fostering trade and investment is Asia’s answer to global economic slowdown. Narrow nationalistic view to protect domestic businesses should be contained. Such view may succeed in the short run, but will certainly fail in the long run.

Commitment to ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (R-CEP), ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and various regional trade treaties should be strengthened. The current economic difficulty should not shift us away from our intention to build solid platform for sustainable economic progress.

Asian countries should also promote resources sharing, including financial resources. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Asian Development Bank facilitate such collaboration. In parallel, we need to stimulate bilateral cooperation at government as well as at business level.

We, in Indonesia, are working hard to maintain a positive economic outlook. We would capitalize our huge domestic market of more than 250 million people, our large natural resources and our high quality human capital, by implementing comprehensive policy reforms to enhance economic productivity, efficiency and business friendliness.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

History tells that there is no economic success without stability and that there is no stability without peace.

In this regards, our ability to maintain peace in the region, including in South China Sea is very strategic. The sea connects worlds’ most important economic engines, including ASEAN, Japan, China, and South Korea. It enables the flow of more than one half of world international trade, amounting to beyond USD 5 trillion annually.

Unfortunately, South China Sea has become a major regional flashpoint due to the overlapping territorial claims. Indonesia is not a claimant state, however we aware of the real risk in which the territorial disputes could turn into an open conflict that will destabilize the region. If this happen, the economic impact would be detrimental.

Indonesia fully believes that mutual respect as well as self-restrain is key to our effort in maintaining peace and security in South China Sea. In this regards, I would like to emphasize our commitment to peaceful resolution through political and diplomatic processes. Furthermore, I call on every country to respect the principle of international law, including UNCLOS 1982.

We understand that resolving territorial disputes are never easy. Therefore, it is more productive if the claimant countries undertake joint endeavor to resolve the issue for the benefit of the region. We must transform potential conflicts into opportunities for concrete cooperation.

Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

We have tough challenge in front of us. But it is a challenge that can be overcome. We must sit together and draw a new direction for our regional economy.

Consist of government leaders, senior officials, and executives from leading global corporations, Boao Forum for Asia is an ideal platform for such initiatives.

We must be able to look beyond our differences and focus on common goal to maintain Asia’s role as global engine of growth.

In regard to South China Sea issue, Asia should put it as a top priority. If we can manage it well, it may become the beginning of another “Asia Economic Miracle”. Otherwise, it could turn into serious obstacle to realize common prosperity in the region.

Thank you.

Xie xie (terima kasih).