Indonesia Asks UK to Ensure Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccines

Jakarta, MINA – Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi attended the ASEAN-UK Open Ended Troika Dialogue which was held virtually on Thursday.

During the meeting, she conveyed the importance of joint efforts to overcome the pandemic, including cooperation with the UK.

“We must continue to secure equal access and distribution of vaccines. As a vaccine producing country, the UK plays an important role in ensuring distribution and supply of vaccines to all countries. In the long term, we must continue to promote vaccine multilateralism and build regional and global health resilience,” said the Indonesian Foreign Minister at the meeting.

Currently, the Foreign Minister continued, only 16.8 million doses of vaccine were available for the 600 million ASEAN population, or only three percent. There are still many ASEAN countries to do to overcome the pandemic.

In the meeting attended by the British Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, and the Foreign Minister as well as high-ranking officials from ASEAN member countries, Retno also encouraged UK cooperation with ASEAN in various fields, including economic recovery and climate change.

From an economic point of view, there is a huge potential for cooperation between ASEAN and the UK. The total value of trade between the two in 2019 was US$ 52 billion, greater than the trade between UK and Japan, India or South Korea. UK is also the third largest investor in ASEAN from Europe.

“These figures indicate there is an opportunity for ASEAN and the UK to step up efforts towards recovery. In order to achieve this, we must also overcome trade barriers between ASEAN countries and the UK, for example through a trade facilitation program, “said Foreign Minister Retno.

In the future, dhe added, the cooperation could be expanded to include other areas of common interest, such as the digital economy, financial services, and new and renewable energy.

Regarding the situation in Myanmar, the Indonesian Foreign Minister emphasized that violence must be stopped to prevent further casualties and democracy must be re-enforced. ASEAN must be a safe, stable and peaceful region.

“I clearly state that ASEAN only wants to lend assistance to overcome the situation in Myanmar. Only then, we as a family can achieve mutual prosperity, ” she said.

Meanwhile, the British Foreign Minister views ASEAN as an important partner and welcomes ASEAN’s proposed cooperation in the fields of maritime, environmental, economic recovery and digitalization. Britain as chair of the G7 this year hopes for ASEAN’s support and invites the presence of the Secretary General of ASEAN and Brunei.

Regarding Myanmar, Raab also expressed concern about increasing violence and acknowledged ASEAN’s special role in resolving this issue.

The meeting resulted in the Chairman’s Press Release on the ASEAN-United Kingdom Open-Ended Troika Meeting which included a commitment to work together in building science-based green recovery and funding related to the green economy. To continue cooperation in economic recovery by involving business actors from both parties.

The ASEAN-UK Open-Ended Troika Dialogue meeting was initiated by Brunei as the current Chair of ASEAN. Troika consists of Brunei, the Secretary General of ASEAN, and Cambodia as Chair of ASEAN next year. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)