"The ASEAN continues to face two challenges. Externally, it is how to keep the ASEAN relevant to the dynamics of the region, and internally, it is how to seek ASEAN`s usefulness for the ASEAN community in economical, political, and social terms," Marsudi noted in her remarks during the commemoration of the 51st ASEAN Anniversary in Jakarta, Wednesday.
Since its establishment in 1967, the ASEAN has charted a long journey and transformed from a hostile region to a peaceful and friendly Southeast Asia.
Marsudi noted that the ASEAN has transformed from pockets of poverty into a region that houses an abundance of potentials and has successfully created a stable and thriving ecosystem.
"The ASEAN will continue to contribute to peace efforts even outside of Southeast Asia, as the ASEAN`s mechanism has expanded to regional security and economic architecture," she added.
She acknowledged that the ASEAN often receives critique due to its slow pace in responding to global and regional issues and dynamics, but she believes such criticism should be viewed as constructive feedback to further develop and build ASEAN in future.
"The ASEAN should still be a strategic center, including in discussions on Indo-Pacific," Marsudi, who is also former Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, noted.
The ASEAN`s centrality and role in creating a peaceful and stable region have been supported by several of its partner countries, including in the development of the Indo-Pacific concept that was discussed at the 8th East-Asia Summit Foreign Ministers` Meeting held in Singapore last week.
"We are confident that ASEAN`s centrality will accelerate our growth. If ASEAN`s centrality is supported and acknowledged by many other countries and our partner countries, then the most important aspect is to maintain ASEAN`s own unity," she added.
Reported by Yashinta Difa
Edited by Aria Cindyara, Suharto