Jakarta. A groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, Secretariat building will take place on Friday (05/01), as Jakarta seeks to affirm its position as the bloc's diplomatic capital.
"We are very excited, hopefully by next January we will be able to see the new Asean [Secretariat] building, which will be an icon for Jakarta as the diplomatic capital of Asean," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said during a press briefing on Thursday.
The new secretariat will have two 16-floors towers, with a green-building concept and will feature designs from Betawi culture. Like the current secretariat, it will also be located in South Jakarta.
Arrmanatha added that the cost to construct the building will be around Rp 500 billion ($37.2 million) and is part of Indonesia’s contribution to continue strengthening the Asean secretariat. He emphasized that as host country, Indonesia is responsible to provide the facility and that the existing premises are no longer adequate.
The current Asean Secretariat was established in 1981.
"We hope that with the new and improved facility for the Asean Secretariat, more Asean meetings – which are usually organized all over the place – will be concentrated into this one building in Jakarta," Arrmanatha said.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will attend Friday’s ceremony, which will be preceded by a hand-over ceremony of the Asean secretary general.
Lim Jock Hoi, permanent secretary of Brunei Darussalam’s ministry of foreign affairs and trade, will take over the role, replacing Le Luong Minh of Vietnam, who wrapped up his five year-term in December.