Jakarta (Antara Bali) - Boarding presidential aircraft RI-1 from the Philippines, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his entourage arrived in Manado, early Wednesday morning for a work visit in North Sulawesi.
At the Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado, President Jokowi and First Lady Iriana were greeted by North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey.
While in Manado, the head of state will open the 20th Trisakti Indonesian National Students Movement (GMNI) Congress on Wednesday.
After opening the congress, the president and his entourage will return to Jakarta in the afternoon.
Before leaving for Manado, the president earlier in the Philippines attended the 31st summit meeting of ASEAN in Mania on Tuesday.
Addressing the leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at a meeting which took place on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, President Jokowi said he hopes negotiations on the RCEP could be wrapped up in 2018.
"I hopes that negotiation on RCEP could be concluded soon. Conclusion of RCEP would give a strong message that economic integration could benefit all," Jokowi said.
Indonesian president said negotiations have been underway for 5 years but has failed to come to an agreement on main issues particularly on good and service trade and investment.
RCEP would be the largest free trade pact in the world involving almost half of the world population, he said.
In front of all heads of state taking part in the RCEP negotiations, President Jokowi stressed on the importance of giving mandate to all negotiators to be more flexible, pragmatic and realistic without sacrificing the quality of the negotiations.
RCEP constitutes a concept of free trade agreement among 10 member countries of ASEAN with six dialog partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
RCEP negotiations began formally in November 2012 when ASEAN summit meeting took place in Cambodia. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of RCEP is estimated to reach 31.6 percent of the world's GDP and contributes 28.5 percent to the global trade value. (WDY)