Foreign Policy Should Accommodate the National Interests

Indonesia National Policy Formulation should be based on two aspects, namely the national policy and the contribution of Indonesia to the world. Besides, in foreign policy, there are four main priorities which are maintaining the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI), Indonesian citizen protection and Indonesia legal entity in other countries, economic diplomacy, and the contribution of Indonesia to the world. Those first three priorities denote the national interests, while the other is divided into peace and welfare.

In a public lecture of ‘Pidato Milad’ (Remark of UMY’s 36 Anniversary) on Tuesday (25/4) at meeting hall of A.R. Fachruddin B of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY), Minister of Foreign Policy of the Republic of Indonesia Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi emphasized that there must be no distance between foreign policy and interests of the people. “The people’s interests should be the main consideration for formulating foreign policy,” she maintained.

To perform the first priority, Retno asserted the significance of negotiation in border areas. “We have to intensively negotiate issues of land and maritime borders since the conflicts will get greater if the problems are not solved. In 2016, there were 36 territorial negotiations with other countries,” he informed.

In the economic area, Retno told that Indonesia have undertaken economic diplomacy focusing on markets in Central Asia, South Asia, and Africa. “In Indonesia, our economic diplomacy aims at developing competitive and open economy as well as infrastructure, while in other countries it is with the purpose of enhancing export, investment, and tourism,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Indonesia foreign policy contributes to the world. As mentioned on the preamble of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesia divides the priority to the world into two aspects, namely peace and welfare. Indonesia also possesses power in several issues which lead to the respect from other states. “For instance, Indonesia became the Bali Democracy Forum that the results were used as the reference of the world. Another example is as a bridging role. Indonesia is as a bridge for peace. This nation is in rank 8 of troop contributing countries with 2,781 military personnel. In a pluralism issue, Indonesia is well-known as a plural and tolerant nation,” she emphasized.

Retno also talked about the 50th ASEAN commemoration that ASEAN has been successfully maintaining peace in Southeast Asia. She contended that Indonesia and ASEAN have mutual roles. “ASEAN is able to create peace and welfare in Southeast Asian regions. Since established in 1967, there is not any significant conflicts among the members, and media have not published these circumstances. Indeed, ASEAN economic growth is beyond the world economic growth,” she stressed.

In an interview after the public lecture, Retno uttered Muhammadiyah as one of the largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia has contributed to conflict resolutions confronted by government. “We often require Muhammadiah’s recommendation when encountering some conflicts. Muhammadiyah takes essential roles to retain the image of Indonesia as a plural nation. Hence, UMY as a Muhammadiyah-affiliated institution is expected to educate the people in term of the unity in diversity,” she wished.


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