FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: A very good afternoon, dear colleagues from the media. (In Indonesian.) I would like to begin once again by welcoming and expressing our appreciation to Secretary Clinton, as well as her delegation, for having attended and participated actively in this second Joint Commission meeting between the United States and Indonesia.
I had begun our discussion this morning by expressing one key thought. First, that during the past few days, as you are aware, Secretary Clinton has given Bali to attend the ASEAN-U.S. meeting, the East Asia Summit meeting at the ministerial level, as well as the ASEAN Regional Forum. And during the course of those sets of meetings, Indonesia and the United States worked very closely, all for the purpose of promoting peace, stability, and prosperity for our region.
But I have also suggested the idea that all those endeavors would not be possible without being anchored by strong bilateral relations, as Indonesia and the United States today enjoy. And that is why today’s second JMC is extremely strategic and extremely important. As colleagues will be aware, the JMC process was launched last September 2010 for the purpose of injecting momentum and ensuring concrete (inaudible) to the vision of a comprehensive partnership between Indonesia and the United States.
And during the course of that period, since September 2010 until today, we have seen, based on the report that we have just now received from the six working groups — namely the working groups on democracy and civil society, working group on climate and environment, working group on education, on trade and investment, on security issues, and on energy — based on the submission from the six working groups, I think both Secretary Clinton and I feel ever more confident that the comprehensive partnership between our two countries are in a good state, and that we are actually further deepening and strengthening our collaboration and partnership.
And more specifically, each of the working groups were able to share with the Secretary and myself the kind of progress they have made in their own respective domain, and lay out the concrete work plan for their year ahead, in order to ensure that the momentum is maintained.
More specifically, as you are aware, come next November, in 2011, we are to have the East Asia Summit here in Bali. And on that occasion, we are anticipating, of course, the first participation by the United States, by President Obama, to that summit. And, at the same time, there will be, no doubt, a bilateral meeting between the two presidents: of Indonesia and President Obama. In other words, the work that we are doing now, today, of the JCM, becomes a useful (inaudible) for us to be able to take stock where we are and where we wish to become next November.
So, all in all, I would say, Secretary, it has been — and I am sure you would agree with me — a most productive meeting, and encouraging, as well, because not only have the working groups been extremely diligent and energetic in their work over the past few months, but they continue to be driven by a sense of wanting to achieve better achievement and identifying more potentials for the future.
Of course, besides the issue of bilateral relations, the Secretary and I had the advantage on this occasion to compare notes on various regional and international issues, following on from the discussions that we have been having at the ASEAN Regional Forum, as well as the East Asia Summit at the ministers level.
That is by way of introduction for myself. I should now like to give the floor to Secretary Clinton to also deliver her remarks. Please.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. I want to express my appreciation to the Foreign Minister and the delegation from Indonesia for not only welcoming us today, but preparing the opportunity for such a productive second meeting of our joint commission. As the foreign minister said, we covered a lot of ground. I want to just touch on a few of the highlights.
First, we discussed how to increase trade and investment between our countries. Because while Indonesia is the largest economy in ASEAN, trade between our two countries still lags between others in the region. For example, our trade this year with Indonesia was $20 billion, but our trade with Malaysia was $40 billion. So we want to look at what are the impediments and the potential barriers. How do we reduce tariffs? How do we create more dynamic trade and investment between Indonesia and the United States?
Secondly, we discussed how we can work together more closely to protect the environment and to address the challenge of climate change. I know that is something that the Government of Indonesia and President Yudhoyono has been particularly focused on. I emphasize that, as we enter the final stage of negotiations on a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact that aims to promote low carbon development, we look forward to the quick creation of an accountable national trust fund to implement the compact, and to spur sustainable growth here in Indonesia.
Third, we discussed our shared goal of expanding educational exchanges. And I was so pleased to hear the report from the two chairs of the education working group. We are well on the way to doubling the number of Indonesians who study in the United States, and increasing the number of American students who come to study in Indonesia. We have expanded study abroad initiatives, such as our Fulbright Program, and we are eager to continue to build on that, as we will at a higher education summit to be held in Washington on October 31st.
Finally, we discussed Indonesia’s growing role as a regional and global leader, and the important leadership that Indonesia is providing in ASEAN, in the ASEAN Regional Forum, in the East Asia Summit, in APEC, in the G-20, in all the major multilateral fora where the hard problems facing us in the world today are addressed.
This is an exciting time, and I was very impressed by the work that has been done by the working groups. And I think that this comprehensive partnership is, indeed, producing results for both of our people. Because, after all, we have to report to the people of Indonesia, and the people of the United States. And I think they can be reassured that we are not meeting for the sake of meeting; we are meeting to build relationships, to explore potential, and to deliver results for both of our people.
So, again, let me thank the Foreign Minister for his hospitality and his friendship, and to commend you, Marty, on the excellent job done in hosting these important gatherings in the last week.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you very much, Hillary. Before opening the floor for questions, may I express a sentiment which I am sure Hillary would want to associate herself to, as well? Once again, to reaffirm and communicate our (inaudible) with regard to the attacks that took place in Norway just recently, the loss of life, of innocent lives lost, and our condemnation for that event, yet, at the same time, our confidence in the strength of the Norwegian nation, of its government, to be able to overcome this particular challenge, and that we, as members of the international community, stand by them in expressing our solidarity and support.
QUESTION: Thank you very much (inaudible). I have a question for you, ma’am, and one question to you, Mr. Marty.
First question, I would like to know what is your opinion on how ASEAN works on problems such as the border disputes (inaudible), issues of human rights (inaudible), and especially South China Seas issue. And do you think that we should always be (inaudible)?
My second question. There has been (inaudible) on the human (inaudible) Indonesia following the statement of Human Rights Watch. How (inaudible) participation of human rights in Indonesia, especially (inaudible).
And to Mr. Marty, (inaudible).
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Ah, right. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me begin with responding. I want to commend Indonesian leadership of ASEAN this past year. Because of its active role in promoting a resolution to the border disputes between Cambodia and Thailand. Indonesia played that role very effectively, to the point that both countries have asked Indonesia to continue playing such a role, even after its chairmanship of ASEAN expires.
And I think the international court of justice’s decision about the disputed territory between two ASEAN members itself highlighted the importance of ASEAN continuing to seek a permanent resolution.
Secondly, with respect to human rights in Burma, we discussed that in our meetings, in the ASEAN Regional Forum, and in the U.S.-ASEAN dialogue. And I think it is very important that we continue to press the new Government of Burma to take action that will demonstrate a break with the past. And again, here I commend Indonesia’s leadership, both as chair of ASEAN, in reaching out to the new government, but also, based on your own experience, I think there is much for Indonesia to share, as to how you make a successful peaceful transition to a democracy as vibrant and successful as the one here in Indonesia.
And with respect to the South China Sea, as you know, that took up a great deal of our time in discussions, both prior to and during the meetings. I have to comment Indonesia’s leadership again. Because, as chair of ASEAN, Indonesia led the way to the adoption of the declaration of conduct. I think that it is important for all of us to realize what is at stake here. Because, clearly, the South China Sea is absolutely essential to global trade. At least 50 percent of all global trade goes through the South China Sea every single year. And it is important for us to support freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, so there is no question as to the rights of every nation for its ships, its goods to pass through the South China Sea. But it is especially important for the region.
And the United States takes no position on any claim made by any party to any disputed area. What we want to see is a resolution process that will be aided by the code of conduct that ASEAN is working toward, based on the Declaration of Conduct, and that the principles of international law will govern, so that there can be peaceful resolution of all the claims. In order to achieve that, every claimant must make their claim publicly and specifically known, so that we know where there is any dispute. And secondly, all claims must be related to territorial characteristics.
So, we think that it was an important first step, but only a first step in adopting the Declaration of Conduct. And we commend, again, Indonesia’s leadership in achieving that, and urge that ASEAN move quickly — I would even add urgently — to achieve a code of conduct that will avoid any problems in the vital sea lanes and territorial waters of the South China Sea.
With respect to — you had two questions in there — with respect to human rights, we have a working group in our Commission on democracy on human rights. We had a very positive discussion about those important issues during the reporting from that working group, and we look forward to continuing to support Indonesia in its important leadership on democracy and human rights, not only in the region, but globally. And, therefore, we look forward to continuing to make progress.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: If I may just also add to the point that Secretary Clinton has made on the South China Sea, Indonesia is acutely aware of the need to maintain momentum. Of course, the conclusion of the guidelines just now — a couple of days ago now — is a very important development. I would not wish to underestimate its importance. But, at the same time, it reminds us of the further work that needs to be done maintaining momentum, maintaining a sense of urgency. And we have a road map at the back of our minds of what needs to happen between now and then, whenever the “then” is. But you can be assured that we have a clear outline and expectations of what needs to happen. And not least, of course, the identifications of elements for Code of Conduct within the process of its eventual conclusion, as well.
On the specific question asked — addressed to myself, namely Indonesia and the United States with regard to the East Asia Summit, as you are very much aware, of course, the process, the very process of United States participation and addition to the East Asia Summit was, among others, a product of a process that Indonesia and the United States bilaterally (inaudible) about.
I remember my first conversation with you, Hillary, in Singapore, if I am not mistaken, at the sideline of a conference. This was an issue that you raised then. And, therefore, even from the beginning, the United States and Indonesia have been engaged in a very thorough way to discuss, to compare notes of our strategic vision of what the East Asia Summit is all about. And now that the United States is part of the East Asia Summit, it is our task, together with the other members of the EAS to give flesh to this — to give value to this forum. And I think that the discussion that we had yesterday was extremely instructive — a couple of days ago now — among others, to ensure that the East Asia Summit, besides discussing the five priority issues that we have been discussing, also deepen and broaden its engagement or discussion on so-called broad strategic issues.
The East Asia Summit must provide solutions to many of the region’s challenges, and opportunities, as well. And I am glad that, with the United States being part of the equation, being part of the architecture, then the chances of having this summit providing that answer is suitably enhanced. Thank you.
QUESTION: I am going to follow up on a couple of human rights issues. Foreign Minister, do you believe that the change that occurred in Myanmar, Burma, this year is sufficient for Burma to take its place, for instance, as head of ASEAN? I don’t believe the United States thinks so. I mean you both can comment on that.
And in advance of the Secretary’s visit, a number of media groups, a human rights group, issued statements critical of Indonesia’s handling of the situation in Kampar, saying that aid groups and journalists were being barred, and that there were reports that — of a crackdown on the indigenous people. And I was just wondering if you both can comment on those specifics.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you. In a way, the questions are somewhat related, as relates to human rights and democratization.
One thing that we have learned in the course of our decade-long now — nearly — democratization is that it is a process. It is impossible to have a snapshot of one moment in time and sort of decide, “Are we there yet, or are we not there yet?” And this is most definitely the case with respect to Myanmar. Myanmar is obviously a work in process, in terms of democratization. To put it more — in a more — I guess — yes, I don’t want to use — describe it as a work in progress.
But it is very much related to the issue of chairmanship. As you know, at the moment, the decision has not been made by ASEAN. When we last met as foreign ministers, the decision has been left — not quite done yet. But we have to see and have a sense of — comfort level whether Myanmar is actually prepared and ready to assume chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014. I am aware — we are aware — of the responsibilities and the expectations that is inherent in a particular country chairing ASEAN, especially on the eve of 2015. So we are well aware of that, and we are going to have plenty more discussions among ASEAN member states to ensure that there is a real comfort level about the issue.
On the issue of human rights situation in Indonesia, the kind of concerns that we have expressed, many — we hear such comments and expectations on a regular basis. But the only thing is nowadays it is also a concern that is shared by all Indonesians alike. So it doesn’t take an external party to suggest to us we need to do this and that, because it is being — efforts are being made to ensure that our own democratic and human rights expectations are fulfilled, as we expect them to be.
But, you know, as Secretary Clinton has said, we have this working group within this forum on human rights and civil society that has been working not only in promoting bilateral cooperation on human rights issue, but also increasingly now, of cooperation of a multilateral character, as well, a lot of experience sharing that we are disseminating to some other countries in transition, including in the Middle East and North Africa, which shows the potential demonstrative effect that countries like Indonesia, working together with United States, can impact — impart upon our partners, as well. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we greatly appreciate Indonesia’s leadership in promoting progress toward political reconciliation and democracy in Burma. And, as the foreign minister said, Indonesia’s own recent history provides an example for transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions.
And we have, in many different settings, expressed our deep concern about the oppressive political environment in Burma. We have called on the newly-elected government to release political prisoners, open a meaningful dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi by utilizing decision-makers who can respond to her legitimate suggestions and concerns, and we will continue to press for the kind of changes that we see benefiting the people of Burma in the future.
With respect to Papua, the United States supports the territorial integrity of Indonesia, which includes the Papua and West Papua provinces. We, of course, believe in open dialogue between Papuan representatives and the Indonesian Government to address grievances and support development. But, as the Foreign Minister said, this is a matter for the Indonesian Government, and they are addressing it. And we hope to see full implementation of the special autonomy law for Papua, which is a commitment on the part of the Indonesian Government to address many of the concerns that have been expressed.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary and Mr. Foreign Minister. I want to ask about how far this relation has progressed since you (inaudible), especially about the (inaudible) and security sector.
And then, what will U.S. President Barack Obama of United States bring to the East Asia Summit next November? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that there has been a discernable amount of progress in the relationship between the United States and Indonesia under the Obama Administration. President Obama came to office very committed to deepen, broaden, and strengthen the bilateral relationship between our two countries. And, based on the work that I have overseen, and that I have been able to analyze, given the work of the Commission, I am very pleased by the progress that our bilateral relationship is making.
We, on both sides, have more to do. And so, this is a continuing process that we will be focused on. I know President Obama is looking forward both to attending the East Asian Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit, and his bilateral meetings with President Yudhoyono and others. But this is a very important relationship, one that the United States highly values, and that we are deeply invested in. And I think, based on the progress we have made in a very short period of time, there is a tremendous potential for future cooperation.
QUESTION: Hi. I am Anthony Kuhn with NPR, National Public Radio of the U.S., and I would like to hear both from Secretary Clinton and Minister Marty on this.
To go back to the South China Sea, Secretary Clinton, you have asked claimants to back up their claims in international law. This is probably the most — as China would put it — core interest, or core matter, the thorniest issue you could raise. It has taken the better part of a decade just to come up with a non-binding resolution that says very little about what to do when there are spats. What about the medium term? What about the short term?
What do you propose to address — to prevent incidents which you say threaten security? Might you — although you are both not claimants in this — for example, engage in diplomacy in, say, to claimants, at least try to get to your different domestic departments in line, reading from the same page on this issue? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Anthony. I think that the progress that we saw this year stands in marked contrast to our meeting last year. The achievement of a declaration, as you point out, had been a long time coming, thanks to the hard work and leadership of the foreign minister and the Indonesian Government as chair of the ASEAN meeting, as well as the ARF. There has been progress on the dialogue between China and ASEAN.
The Declaration is a first step. Nobody claims it is more than that. It is a first step. It needs to be quickly followed up on by the code of conduct. There needs to be a lot of dialogue between ASEAN and China in their already-existing mechanism. And the rest of the world needs to weigh in, because all of us have a stake in ensuring that these disputes don’t get out of control. And in fact, the numbers have been increasing. The intimidation actions of (inaudible), of cutting of cables, the kinds of things which will raise the cost of doing business for everyone who travels through the South China Sea, which, as I said earlier, is half of all global commerce.
So, we support a collaborative, diplomatic process by all claimants to resolve all of their disputes. What we do not support, and are strongly against, is the use or threat of force by any nation to advance its claims. Therefore, we think simultaneously there needs to be a very concerted effort to realize a code of conduct, and there needs to be a call by the international community for all parties to clarify their claims, both land and maritime, and to conform them to international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on Law of the Seas.
This is the way the world is supposed to work. And in the 21st century, this is the way it must work. Because no nation can, on its own, manage everything that needs to happen. And those days are and must be over. And, therefore, we have to have the kind of cooperative, collaborative effort that Indonesia has led.
FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Well, thank you very much for that question. Collaborative and cooperative mindset is an effort — is certainly exactly the kind of spirit and outcome we are promoting as Indonesia, as ASEAN chair, for our region. Of course, the obvious recent manifestation among others has been on South China Sea, as well as on the Thai-Cambodia situation.
In other words, we are keen to avoid for our region the kind of fault lines and schisms and divisions that may not be — that would not be to the interest of any countries in this part of the world. And the South China Sea, the guideline itself, the Declaration and its guidelines, when you look at it, it may not seem to suggest much. It may not. However, if you look at the broader picture of what it represents, the fact that after about eight years, finally, this year, after much strong effort, and in contrast to — like Secretary Clinton said, in contrast to last year’s ambience and conditions, we were able to get this done. I think that is a good start. And it is an asset for us to develop on.
The key point here is that we must make sure that this is not the end of the line. This is but the beginning. And I can assure you that Indonesia, as chair of ASEAN, we have a road map — as I said before in my earlier remarks, we have a clear road map of what needs to happen between now and, say, November. That is the next junction, when we will be having the summit of ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, to ensure a constant sense of progress and momentum. Because we do sincerely and genuinely feel letting things not going anywhere, letting things be state of status quo can be possibly destabilizing, and creating uncertainty and opening up the potentials for miscalculation. And this is what we wish to avoid. Transparency, in terms of intent, in terms of claims, is extremely important.
But all this must be done within the diplomatic process. And I don’t mind having very difficult debate — frank and candid, as we say it in diplomatic parlance — as long as it is all done in the construct of a conference room, rather than out there at sea. And there has certainly been, as Secretary Clinton said, recent incidents at sea. I am afraid it is a general trend, not only in the South China Sea; the other seas of all parts of the world also have been marked by tensions. The militarization of fishing vessels, for example, that — how fishing vessels have been protected by the navies of different countries and creating incidences at sea, and these are very serious developments.
That is why, among our initiatives just now, was to have a maritime forum for our region, an East Asia or Asia Pacific ASEAN maritime forum, where all the different assets of maritime ocean issues can be discussed in a cohesive way. Indonesia, you recall, is an archipelago. It is a country that is not small, made up of some 17,000 islands. We used to think of the oceans as a factor that divides us. But, thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers, the oceans, the seas between the islands, becomes an issue that binds us in accordance with this archipelagic outlook.
Now, we would like to think that East Asia and the Asia Pacific, a great deal of which is made up of the seas, can also have a similar integrative outlook, to look at the seas as a potential for cooperation, rather than a source for conflict and tensions. That is certainly the kind of outlook we would like to promote. Thank you very much.