"So really, it was a wonderful summit (not only) in terms of the outcomes but also in terms of the quality of deliberations among the leaders, and they really spent time to really address all the issues that have been our concern," ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn stated in a special interview with ANTARA on Thursday evening (June 8).
The 42nd ASEAN Summit was held on May 9-12, 2023, in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
The ASEAN secretary general was pleased with the fact that this year, the ASEAN Summit can be held twice as before following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency status.
"I think it was superb because the (ASEAN) leaders, for the first time, since the COVID-19, now that we split up the summit, there are two summits now like we used to have," he remarked.
According to Hourn, holding two summits can provide more time for ASEAN leaders to discuss various internal and external issues affecting the region.
"Hence, the leaders had the time to really discuss on ASEAN housekeeping matters to actually address the needs that have become common concerns," Hourn stated.
"Moreover, they have the time to also discuss what are the external issues that have impacts on us (ASEAN)," he remarked.
Furthermore, the secretary general highlighted that during the 42nd ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN leaders held several discussions that "touched" some sensitive issues and exchanged views on them.
"There are different views and perspectives on the issues, but then, at the end of the meeting, they arrive at a consensus on what to do and that we should work together collectively. Hence, that is the spirit of ASEAN there," he pointed out.
As a result of the 42nd ASEAN Summit, delegation leaders and several high-ranking officials from ASEAN member countries have produced 11 documents, including the Statement of Leaders of the 42nd ASEAN Summit.
Several of these documents support the upholding of the pillars under the theme of "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth" adopted by Indonesia in its 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship.
Secretary General Hourn believes that the results of the 42nd ASEAN Summit truly reflect Indonesia's best practices in making decisions that affect the resolution of urgent problems that need to be addressed in the region.
The 42 ASEAN Summit was attended by several ASEAN member country leaders: Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh, Lao PDR Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Brunei Darussalam PM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai.
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