At the 33rd ASEAN plenary session in Singapore on Wednesday, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) highlighted the Indo-Pacific concept for the ASEAN to remain relevant and maintain its centrality.
"In order to maintain centrality, there is no other way for the ASEAN but to use the East Asia Summit as the main platform to discuss this concept," President Jokowi reiterated.
President Jokowi affirmed that the uncertainty and magnitude of challenges faced by the Indo-Pacific region have the potential to threaten peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.
According to the president, being in the middle of the Indo-Pacific region, the ASEAN should be able to become a hub, play its role, and turn potential threats into cooperation.
"Our world is filled with a lot of uncertainty. We also feel attractions between interests in our region. The ASEAN should remain a driving force for peace and prosperity. The ASEAN should be able to turn potential threats into cooperation and the potential tension into peace," President Jokowi stated.
The Indonesian president stated that one way to develop the Indo-Pacific concept is to enhance cooperation that highlights the principle of openness and respect for international law.
President Jokowi also welcomed the positive response from ASEAN countries regarding the Indo-Pacific concept. The ASEAN countries fully support the concept.
"I am pleased that the draft of the concept has been discussed and God willing, it can be immediately agreed upon. Informal consultations have also been conducted with ASEAN partner countries," he noted.
Jokowi stressed that the concept will provide a new direction for ASEAN in establishing cooperation with its partner countries. Through this concept, the president believes that the unity and centrality of ASEAN in the region will be maintained.
"This innovative insight will provide a direction for future cooperation of the ASEAN that emphasizes the Indo-Pacific as a single geo-strategic theater, promotes cooperation not competition, advances development, and realizes prosperity for all," President Jokowi stated.
Editing by Libertina, Yoseph Hariyadi