Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi affirmed that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should remain in control in facing various geopolitical challenges.

"ASEAN must remain in the driver's seat in navigating the current and future geopolitical challenges, including through the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)," she remarked while opening the retreat session of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The ASEAN centrality concept, as stipulated in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, stressed that ASEAN must be able to become a dominant regional platform, enabling its member states to deal with common challenges and engage with external powers.

It is only by strengthening its centrality can the ASEAN retain its identity as the guardian of stability and peace in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific, she said.

This year, Indonesia is holding the chairmanship of the ASEAN, themed "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth," to reflect its goal of making ASEAN important and relevant as a global growth center.

At the 42nd ASEAN Summit held on May 9-11 in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, the bloc's leaders produced several important documents, including the Declaration on Strengthening ASEAN's Capacity and Institutional Effectiveness.

Minister Marsudi underscored that EAS and ARF are important inclusive platforms where all players in the region sit and talk.

"ASEAN believes in inclusivity, ASEAN believes in dialogue, and ASEAN believes in win-win collaboration," she emphasized.

With regard to ARF, Marsudi said it is time to begin focusing on conducting preventive diplomacy while maintaining confidence-building measures.

ARF was established by ASEAN member states in 1994 to serve as a forum where they can hold dialogues and consultation regarding various issues related to the region's politics and security.

ARF constitutes the only intergovernmental forum that involves major powers in Asia Pacific and other regions, such as the United States, China, Japan, Russia, and the European Union.

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Translator: Cindy Frishanti, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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