Gala Dinner ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat 2023: Indonesian Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan Launches the Borobudur Temple Living Harmony Diplomacy

MOT Indonesia 21 March 2023
Gala Dinner ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat 2023: Indonesian Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan Launches the Borobudur Temple Living Harmony Diplomacy

Magelang, 21 March 2023 — Indonesian Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan invited ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) to a dinner at Margo Utomo, in the Borobudur Temple area, Magelang Regency, Central Java, Tuesday (21/3) evening. In this forum, the majesty of the Borobudur Temple, which represents a symbol of tolerance, religious harmony, and an invaluable cultural heritage, has become a symbol of Indonesian diplomacy.

"Borobudur Temple, which is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and registered as a world heritage by UNESCO, is a symbol of religious tolerance and harmony in Indonesia. The reliefs of the Borobudur Temple show the harmonious life of religious communities that prioritizes mutual respect," said Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan.

In his opening remarks, Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan said that the presence of the ASEAN Economic Ministers in Magelang reflected support for Indonesia's Chairmanship in ASEAN in 2023 which carries the theme "ASEAN MATTERS: EPICENTRUM OF GROWTH". Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan invited the ASEAN Economic Ministers to put forward a spirit of collaboration to make ASEAN a center for global economic growth with the spirit of ASEAN centrality.

Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan hopes that the AEM Retreat can contribute positively to regional development. "The meeting in Magelang shows our shared commitment to realizing the vision of building an ASEAN that is resilient, adaptive, and inclusive; plays a central role; and provides benefits to people in the region and throughout the world. I hope that at the AEM Retreat meeting on March 22 2023, we can produce a concrete agreement to ensure that all of us, as a single ASEAN entity, can contribute positively to economic growth and work together in various sectors," said Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan.

According to the Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan, Magelang was chosen as the location for the 29th AEM Retreat meeting because apart from having the largest Buddhist temple in the world, it also has the very beautiful Menoreh Hills. "Magelang has cool and pleasant air surrounded by several mountains, cultural heritage, and a lush teak forest," he explained.

The banquet was attended by ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn and ASEAN Economic Ministers who will attend the 29th AEM Retreat meeting on Wednesday (22/3). Accompanying them were Deputy Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia Jerry Sambuaga and Director General of International Trade Negotiations of the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono. The ministers present were Cambodian Trade Minister Pan Sorasak; Lao Minister of Industry and Trade Malaithong Kommasith; Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Zafrul Bin Tengku Abdul Aziz; Philippine Minister of Trade and Industry Alfredo Espinosa Pascual; Deputy Permanent Minister of Thailand Wanchai Varavitha; Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam Tran Quoc Khanh. Also present guests representing the Minister of Trade of Brunei Darussalam and the Minister of Trade of Singapore, namely the Permanent Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry of Brunei Darussalam, May Fa'ezah Ahmad Ariffin, and the Director of the ASEAN Division at the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry. Also present were the Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industry of Timor Leste, Jose Lucas Do Carno Da Silva.

Prior to that, on March 20-21 2023 a preparatory meeting was held which was attended by Senior Economic Officials (Senior Economic Officials Meeting /SEOM) of ASEAN countries.

Batik, Traditional Culinary Offerings, and Indonesian Cultural Arts

At the banquet, the ministers enjoyed a number of Indonesian culinary specialties which were served such as wader (spotted barb) fish salad, senerek chicken soup, and ampar-ampar pisang (banana and rice flour cake). Apart from that, there were also various choices of dishes that can be enjoyed by delegates such as gudeg, kupat tahu Magelang, ponorogo beef satay, mangut beong, fried rice and kecombrang (ginger torch) rice, as well as various market snacks such as banana onte-onte, serabi kocok, onde-onde, purple taro caramel, and getuk.

Traditional art in the form of traditional dances and music also greeted the ministers and warmed the atmosphere of the gala dinner at the Borobudur Temple area. As an opening, the Wirotoyo Dance was performed, followed by the Bondan Kendhi Dance, the Driyo Merak Dance, and the Bambangan Cakil Dance.

The Wirotoyo dance is performed by children, depicting the skill and courage of male dancers, in the mighty Surakarta style. Subsequently, the Bondan Kendhi Dance depicts the identity as an older brother for his younger sibling. The story of an older sister who wants to help her mother with household chores, give love, and take care of her younger sibling.

Following that, the Driyo Peacock Dance is a newly created dance that depicts the life of a peacock. The peacock dance depicts beauty, skill, and flexibility as exhibited in the dynamic movements accompanied by rhythmic music becoming a single beautiful whole. After that is the Bambangan Cakil Dance, a traditional dance from Surakarta taken from the Mahabharata wayang story. This dance tells the story of the war between the warrior Arjuna against the giant Cakil and gives the meaning that evil will be defeated by good.

At the dinner, the ASEAN Economic Ministers came looking extra special wearing Indonesian batik attire from the Garuda Kencana brand. The written batik shirt used by the ministers has the Garuda ASEAN bouquet which has several elements in the motif. Firstly, the Garuda element of the motif from Hindu beliefs as the mount of Lord Vishnu. The Garuda element symbolizes power and might as a reflection of the ministers as economic leaders in their respective countries. The second element in the motif is the tendrils that unite, symbolizing the synergy and harmony of each country in achieving common goals. The third element of the motif is the machete to symbolize the spirit that never breaks. The final element motif is the ASEAN logo.

In addition to the hand-written batik they wore, senior ASEAN economic officials use stamped batik with the Lurik Songketan motif, inspired by the Javanese lurik or stripes motif, and Palembang's songket fabric. The motif symbolizes the unity of various cultures.

These special culinary offerings, dances, traditional music and batik are part of culinary and cultural diplomacy. Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan hopes that this can inspire ASEAN member countries to maintain diversity and togetherness in Southeast Asia, even at the world level.


For further information please contact:

Ani Mulyati

Head of Public Relations Bureau

Ministry of Trade



Dina Kurniasari

Director of ASEAN Negotiations

Directorate General of International Trade Negotiations

Ministry of Trade

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