Tempotimor (Dili) – Timor-Leste’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dionísio Babo Soares says the exchange of diplomatic notes of the treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia establishing the respective maritime boundaries in the Timor sea has a great influence on Timor-Leste to become a member of ASEAN.
On 4th of September 2019, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dionísio Babo Soares, conducts a meeting with the ASEAN Fact Finding Mission Team to share information on the Timor-Leste’s readiness to join ASEAN. Key message delivered is that Timor-Leste’s aspiration on becoming member of ASEAN was initiated back in 1975 and this remains the foreign policy priority of the State and Government of Timor-Leste.
The politician from Ermera municipality stated that the exchange of diplomatic notes of the treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia establishing the respective maritime boundaries in the Timor sea had a great influence on Timor-Leste to become a member of ASEAN.
"Therefore, it shows that we have sovereignty, we can manage our sovereignty that we are strong, there is no country coming to take us arbitrarily," he told reporters in Timor-Plaza, Dili, Wednesday (04/09).
The Fact Finding Finding Misson team has arrived in Timor-Leste to evaluate the country's preparations, which for almost 10 years have not yet joined ASEAN.
Historically, Timor-Leste has submitted its application to join the ASEAN organization since 2011. From the beginning until now, Indonesia, which became the first country, gave full support to this new country to enter ASEAN, but until now it has not been recognized by Singapore.
Geographically, the new country that celebrated the 20th referendum on 30 August was located in the Southeast Asia region, and the destination of the former colonies of Portugal and Indonesia joined ASEAN to strengthen security and defense and the economy in the Southeast Asian region.
East Timor's Foreign Minister Dionísio da Costa Babo Soares said the Fact-Finding Mission team consisting of 60 people from 10 ASEAN member countries came to Timor-Leste to evaluate the willingness of Timor-Leste to enter ASEAN.
The former Minister of Justice added that the Fact-Finding Mission team asked about Timor-Leste's politics in the world, and this question was a test of preparation for ASEAN entry.
"We are ready to enter if we are ready to enter, what we need to do, and what we need to submit. They asked very specific questions especially about our foreign policy strategy. Therefore, it was concluded today that I am trying to bring the name of the government to answer to them that we are ready to enter the ASEAN organization, "he explained.
He added the question that arose was what was the position of Timor-Leste about the power competition between America and China, and what was Timor-Leste's position on the issue of dispute when it entered ASEAN members.
"Some ASEAN members asked about the South China Sea issue, and also other questions about economic matters. And our human resource capacity is prepared or not, there is quality or not. These are very specific questions for them to see whether Timor-Leste is ready to enter ASEAN or not, "he explained.
This is the first time a Fact-Finding Mission came to Timor-Leste to make an evaluation, and according to the plan the mission will end in September next year.
Marcal Avelino Ximenes gave an applause to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
“We all hope that the ASEAN team of Fact-Finding Mission in the ground will be get a comprehensive picture of Timor-Leste’s condition of development right now that can be used as input to the decision makers of ASEAN’s countries that can be able to accept our country Timor-Leste as a member of ASEAN in the near future,” he says.