Jakarta (ANTARA) - The theme of Indonesia's 2023 chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth", points to an achievable vision, and is not a mere slogan, Presidential Staff Chief Moeldoko affirmed.

At the media center set up for the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on Thursday, he explained that ASEAN's large population and success in gaining considerable international trust can help Southeast Asia to genuinely emerge as the world’s growth center.

"We must capitalize on those two social foundations in order to become a growth center," he said.

With a population of almost 700 million, ASEAN should not remain a mere market, but strive to become a main player as an active producer, he said.

According to him, in order to transform into an epicenter of growth, ASEAN needs to unite and take collective and coordinated measures to optimize the use of digital technology in economic activities and develop the green economy.

Regarding the green economy, at the 42nd ASEAN Summit in May in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia and other ASEAN member states had agreed to strengthen collaboration in developing an ecosystem for electric vehicles (EV).

The agreement was outlined in the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Developing the Regional Electric Vehicle Ecosystem.

Moeldoko said that in the declaration, ASEAN leaders agreed to invest significant efforts to make ASEAN a global hub for EV production, develop an integrated ecosystem for eco-friendly vehicles, promote energy transition, and make ASEAN the world's epicentrum of growth.

"These visions will be implemented through various cooperation programs, including the development of a regional EV production hub and formulation of a road map for developing the EV industry in the region," he explained.

He then noted that Indonesia, as one of the countries with the largest nickel reserves in the world, enjoys a very strategic role in the EV industry and ecosystem development efforts.

The Indonesian Government has continued to implement its natural resources downstreaming policy, which also applies to nickel, to optimize the mineral as a material for producing EV batteries, he said.

"Hence, Indonesia and ASEAN are consistently seeking even stronger cooperation with China, Japan, and South Korea on the development of an EV ecosystem," he added.

During the 43rd ASEAN Summit, leaders of ASEAN and partner countries have produced various declarations and statements, including the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders' Statement on Developing the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem, produced on September 6, 2023, involving China, Japan, and South Korea in addition to ASEAN states.

Indonesia is hosting the summit in its capital city from September 5–7.

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Translator: Indra Arief, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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