Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi emphasized that the Indo-Pacific needs to stay peaceful and stable and not be another battleground of powerful countries looking to influence the region.

At the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers' Meeting during the 2023 Indonesia's ASEAN Chairmanship in Jakarta, Friday, Marsudi stated that the "Indo-Pacific is at a critical juncture."

EAS is a regional forum that involves 18 EAS countries, which are 10 ASEAN members, and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the United States.

According to Marsudi, Indo-Pacific needs to stay a peaceful region, as it is home to 60 percent of the world's population and the biggest contributor to the global economy over the next three decades.

"But we are still very far from ensuring a conducive environment to unlock the full potential of our region. Mistrust and uncertainties remain," she remarked.

Hence, she expressed hope that the EAS forum would contribute to a safe, stable, and inclusive Indo-Pacific that also encourages collaboration with other regions.

In 2019, ASEAN approved the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which is an affirmation of the region's role to maintain peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

However, AOIP does not mention the rivalry between the US and China that has become more real in the Indo-Pacific.

The Outlook, which was proposed by Indonesia, prioritizes open and inclusive dialogue and cooperation instead of competition and rivalry.

AOIP stipulates that the ASEAN will not side with any major country and will always maintain peace of the Indo-Pacific region.

The AOIP also became one of the main discussion agendas at the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, on May 9-11, 2023.

During its chairmanship this year, Indonesia seeks to strengthen the Association's role in facing challenges, responding to dynamics, and playing a central role in the region.

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Translator: Shofi A, Kenzu T
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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