ASEAN 2023

Indonesia builds case for peace, stability in ASEAN

Indonesia builds case for peace, stability in ASEAN

President Joko Widodo (center) leads the 13th ASEAN - UN Summit held at Jakarta Convention Center on Thursday (Sept 7, 2023). ANTARA PHOTO/Media Center ASEAN Summit 2023/Rommy Pujianto/foc.

Indonesia, as ASEAN chair this year, continued to highlight the importance of the bloc and its dialogue partners in maintaining peace and stability during meetings held under the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits on Thursday.

At the 20th ASEAN-India Summit, President Joko Widodo said that the Indian Ocean, which connects 33 countries with a total population of 2.9 billion, has the potential to account for one-fifth of the global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

He then urged the leaders of ASEAN and India to make the ocean "a sea of cooperation, not a sea of confrontation."

He highlighted the need to maintain regional stability and peace by respecting international law, encouraging cooperation, and building inclusive regional architecture.

During Thursday's summit, he noted that ASEAN and India could enhance their cooperation to realize blue economy, food security, create maritime connectivity, and sustain marine resources.

In addition, he called for joint bilateral efforts to tackle maritime crimes, such as piracy, drug and human smuggling activities, as well as illegal fishing.

At the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS), President Widodo invited EAS leaders to jointly create peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

In his opening remarks, he emphasized that EAS leaders have the responsibility to not create new conflicts, new tensions, and new wars. At the same time, the leaders also have the responsibility to ease high tensions as well as create room for dialogue and bridging differences, he added.

The President urged the leaders to make EAS a forum for strengthening collaboration and cooperation and not for sharpening rivalries.

Furthermore, at the 3rd ASEAN-Australia Summit, Widodo highlighted that both ASEAN and Australia have an interest and responsibility to maintain the Indo-Pacific as a peaceful and stable region as well as make it an epicentrum of growth.

He underscored that Australia is ASEAN's comprehensive strategic partner as well as link to the Pacific region.

"ASEAN is also an important trading partner for Australia, with a trade value that is higher than with the United States (US) and Japan," he added.

To this end, he noted that whatever happens in the Indo-Pacific will have a significant impact on both Australia and ASEAN.

He affirmed that ASEAN will cooperate with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) with the principle of inclusivity.

He further said that ASEAN is committed to continuing to establish mutually beneficial cooperation with Australia.

Meanwhile, at the 13th ASEAN-United Nations Summit, the President stressed the need for prioritizing people.

"Amid world's challenges that are getting more complex, war and conflict, food crisis, energy crisis, financial crisis and disasters, our people are the ones that are most affected," he noted.

To tackle those issues, coordinated joint action, both by the UN at the global level and ASEAN at the Indo-Pacific level, is needed, he stressed.

He said that geopolitical dynamics often hinder the effectiveness of ASEAN and the UN's work.

The President underscored that both ASEAN and the UN have a clear choice to be consistent in respecting international law as a basis of interactions between nations and a paradigm of inclusive collaboration.

At Thursday's summit, he also asked all parties to jointly promote a development agenda that is fairer for developing countries, including the right to progress and prosper. Furthermore, he said that global governance reform must also be encouraged to fit its purpose and to be timely.

"Let us strengthen cooperation between ASEAN and the UN for the good of the people of the world," he added.

At the closing ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits on Thursday (September 7), President Widodo said that 12 summits were conducted from September 5 to 7, resulting in 90 outcome documents and a number of concrete agreements with ASEAN partners.

He said that, throughout the meetings, he felt the optimism and positive energy of all the attendees, which, according to him, strengthened the hope and the spirit to continue striving to realize a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

To face complex global challenges and dynamics, he invited all parties to work together to turn challenges into opportunities, rivalries into collaborations, exclusivity into inclusivity, and differences into unity.

The 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits hosted in Jakarta by Indonesia were attended by the bloc's dialogue partners, namely Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Russia, and India. Timor-Leste was also in attendance as an observer.

In addition, Bangladesh, as the chair of IORA, and the Cook Islands, as the chair of PIF, were also invited to the meetings.

Indonesia is holding the ASEAN chairmanship in 2023 with the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth." Its vision is to build a resilient, adaptive, and inclusive ASEAN, among other things.

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