JAKARTA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Timor-Leste on Friday has sent a formal application to join the Association of Southeast Asia Nation (ASEAN) to Indonesia as the current chair of the bloc.
The submission was given by Timorese Foreign Minister Zacaria Albano da Costa to his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa.
Minister Natalegawa said that Indonesia fully supports Timor- Leste to join ASEAN.
"One thing I can immediately say is that it is not a unique and unusual thing to have the situation of development gap between ASEAN countries. There is a serious effort of ASEAN for many years to reach economic integration by addressing development gap between original ASEAN member states and the CLNV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam)," said Natalegawa.
He also said that ASEAN has a body of knowledge and a body of experience to ensure that while it deepens ASEAN Community building, at the same time it address development gap among member states.
"As a result if Timor-Leste joins ASEAN someday, this would be not a problem. In fact, we will have a huge multiplier and pulled effect for Timor-Leste to speed up economic development effort," he said.
Minister da Costa said that he believes his country would not be a burden for ASEAN.
"For the last three consecutive years, Timor-Leste has been gaining economic growth of double digit. We are developing very fast. I understand that there are problems of gap in some ASEAN countries, but I believe that we would not be a burden for ASEAN. Our natural resources will sustain our economy," he said.