Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and First Lady Iriana welcomed the arrival of heads of state and government participating in the 43rd summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The couple personally welcomed and greeted the delegates that started arriving at the Plenary Hall of the Jakarta Convention Center, the main venue for the summit, at around 9:35 a.m. (2:35 a.m. GMT).

Prime Minister (PM) of Laos Sonexay Siphandone, Cambodian PM Hun Manet, Secretary-General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Thailand Sarun Charoensuwan, President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong successively arrived at the venue.

Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim, Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh, and Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah, accompanied by Prince Abdul Mateen, then joined the ASEAN delegates at the venue.

Prime Minister of Timor-Leste Xanana Gusmao also attends the 43rd ASEAN Summit in the capacity of an observer.

Indonesia, as the host of the summit and the 2023 chair of ASEAN, also invited President of Bangladesh Mohammed Shahabuddin, as Chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), as well as Cook Islands PM Mark Brown, as Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), to the summit.

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Meanwhile, ASEAN is still banning political delegates from Myanmar to attend the bloc's meetings following the country's ongoing unresolved political crisis induced by the coup conducted by its military junta against the elected government.

The 43rd ASEAN, being held on September 5-7, was commenced by the delegates singing together the ASEAN Anthem, before enjoying the art performances by Aemove Dancer and Gitabumi Voices, among others.

On the first day of the summit, the delegates will take part in a plenary session, ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) meeting, and a retreat session.

This year, Indonesia is carrying the chairmanship theme of "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth" that reflects its resolve of preserving the relevance of ASEAN in the global arena and ensuring that the bloc will be capable of facing challenges ahead while promoting regional stability and peace.

Through the promotion of the theme, Indonesia envisions Southeast Asia as a resilient, adaptive, and inclusive region and retains the region's position as the world's center of economic growth by encouraging ASEAN countries to strengthen collaboration.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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