Timor Leste reaffirms desire to join ASEAN

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HANOI, July 20: Timor Leste wants to boost trade with Indonesia and realise its bid to become a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year.

The country’s President Jose Ramos-Horta said on Tuesday, “Timor Leste as part of Southeast Asia has fulfilled many of the requirements necessary for a functioning economy and democracy so … will be a productive member of ASEAN.”

Ramos-Horta was quoted by Channel News Asia as saying at his meeting with the Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, during a visit to the country, according to Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

He said he hoped his country could join the bloc when Indonesia takes over the ASEAN presidency in 2023.

Timor Leste, which applied for ASEAN membership in 2011, currently holds observer status.

According to Widodo, Indonesia has invested US$818 million in Timor Leste, mainly in energy, banking and communication businesses.

Indonesia’s official data, meanwhile, showed that trade between the countries was worth around US$250 million last year. -TVS

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