JAKARTA: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s visit to Jakarta.
The TAC is a peace accord signed in 1976 by ASEAN members to establish a set of guidelines to govern inter-state relations in the region based on mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and national identity, and non-interference of its signatories in the internal affairs of one another.
Besides the 10 member states of ASEAN, countries not located in Southeast Asia have also been entering into the agreement. China and India were the first to accede to it in 2003, and the US and the EU joined in 2009.
Saudi Arabia became the 51st signatory of the treaty — a decision that was welcomed by the ASEAN chair Indonesia.
“We welcome Saudi Arabia to the ASEAN family,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said as she addressed Prince Faisal during the signing ceremony in Jakarta.
“On behalf of my ASEAN colleagues, I wish to convey our highest appreciation for your presence today to sign the instrument of accession to the TAC. We appreciate your extra efforts to come to Jakarta.”
Marsudi pointed out that the inking of the treaty reflected for ASEAN members Saudi Arabia’s willingness to acknowledge the regional bloc’s values and commitment to contribute to peace and stability in Southeast Asia and beyond.
“These values and principles are even more critical amidst current geopolitical dynamics,” she added.
“Together, we must serve as a positive force for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”
She noted that the bloc was anticipating its upcoming summit with the Gulf Cooperation Council, scheduled to take place in Riyadh.
“We look forward to the ASEAN-GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia in October this year,” she said.
With more than 600 million people on 4.5 million square kilometers, ASEAN’s population and area is greater than that of the EU.
In 2022, the grouping generated a purchasing power parity gross domestic product of around $10.2 trillion, or about 6.5 percent of global GDP.