Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan briefs the press on his recent visit to Japan (Image credit : Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Indonesian and Japanese governments have reached an agreement to strengthen cooperation in maritime-related sectors, marking the 60th anniversary of the two countries diplomatic relations.

The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs said in a statement today (Jan 11) that the agreement was reached during the recent visit of the minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan to Japan. During his visit, Pandjaitan met with Kazuyuki Nakane, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Both ministers attended the Japan-Indonesia Maritime Forum, entitled ‘Global maritime Fulcrum’ vision.

As two major maritime countries whose national interests span the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the two Governments recognized that there were important commonalities between their respective policies, such as developing maritime infrastructure and connectivity, strengthening maritime security and safety, and the importance they attach to a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law.

Therefore, the two Governments concurred that it is natural that they would explore the possibility of synergizing their respective policies and further enhance maritime cooperation through, for instance, this Forum.

The Ministers, recalling the successful Japan-Indonesia summit meeting on the occasion of ASEAN Summit, discussed concrete projects for cooperation in the maritime field. In addition, the Ministers took the opportunity of this Maritime Forum to discuss cooperation projects in other fields as well.

As a result of their discussion, the Ministers shared the recognition on progress of Japan-Indonesia bilateral cooperation and committed to further efforts in areas such as Security and Safety in the Maritime Field, Remote-Islands Development, Energy and Electricity, Infrastructure and Connectivity, and Vocational Training, including as below as well as international cooperation among archipelagic and island states.

On security and safety in the maritime field, the two governments shared the view that the South China Sea holds vital sea lanes of communication for global economic activity and viability.

In this regard, both Governments stressed the importance of promoting maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes in full compliance with the universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two Governments welcomed the progress of ongoing negotiations for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and stressed the importance of an early conclusion of an effective COC. The two Governments emphasized the importance of non-militarization in the South China Sea.

Indonesia and Japan see the importance of concrete cooperation among archipelagic and island nation to resolve the shared challenges. Indonesia will organize a conference at ministerial level to establish Archipelagic and Island State Forum. Japan welcomes Indonesian efforts to address these issues and seriously considers how to support this Indonesian initiative.

The two governments also welcomed a new Gadjah Mada University loan project signed last November, which includes the improvement of the educational environment via construction of vocational training facilities, where 8000 students will receive vocational education and training in an adequate environment.

Written by The Insider Stories Staff Writer