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Opening the 2023 ASEAN Summit, President Jokowi: ASEAN is the Motor of World Peace and Growth


By : Reenee Winda A )*

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has officially opened the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, Wednesday (10/5/2023). In his opening speech he touched on the condition of global uncertainty. President Jokowi believes ASEAN is capable of becoming a central player in bringing world peace and growth, as long as it can unite.

As the holder of ASEAN chairmanship in 2023, Indonesia has made every effort to bridge deep and wide differences. However, President Jokowi believes that success will only be achieved if all countries, without exception, are committed, work hard, set aside their differences to produce something concrete and beneficial for the world in the midst of the various challenges it faces.

Indonesia is believed to be able to become the chairman of ASEAN in the midst of a global situation which is very full of uncertainties and after the slumping of the Covid-19 pandemic. Various crises are currently sweeping globally, such as the economic crisis, the energy crisis, the food crisis, the Russia-Ukraine war and so on. These various challenges are of course not easy for countries in the world, especially for developing countries.

According to President Jokowi, ASEAN is still important and relevant for the people, for the region, and for the world, and ASEAN will continue to contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, ASEAN will continue to be able to maintain economic growth. 

President Jokowi is of the opinion that ASEAN countries have strong assets to become the engine of economic growth which is far above the world average, which has the provision of demographic bonuses and regional stability. So that in the future ASEAN must strengthen its economic integration, also strengthen inclusive cooperation, and strengthen the architecture of health, food, energy and financial stability.

In addition, in his remarks, President Jokowi also reminded ASEAN leaders that the economy has not yet recovered. World rivalry is getting sharper and more unpredictable.

Previously, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, said that Indonesia wanted to make ASEAN Resilience and become a barometer of cooperation that can contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the world region.

The 2023 ASEAN Chair takes the theme ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’, through ASEAN Matters, Indonesia is determined to make ASEAN remain important and relevant to the people of ASEAN and beyond. In this regard, the future of ASEAN must begin to be prepared to welcome ASEAN 2025. An explanation of this theme was conveyed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, at the 2023 Annual Press Conference of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (PPTM) which was held in the Nusantara Room, Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building, Jakarta. At that time, Retno said that the centrality of ASEAN must be strengthened in order to be able to maintain peace, stability, prosperity in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific. 

Meanwhile, through the ‘Epicentrum of Growth’ sub-theme, Indonesia is determined to continue to make Southeast Asia a center of economic growth, where with ASEAN under the ‘Epicentrum of Growth’ sub-theme some cooperation will be strengthened. Among them, regional food security, energy security, health and financial cooperation.

ASEAN is expected to be a catalyst for inclusive economic recovery for the region and for other countries. The ASEAN Summit is also expected to produce various concrete agreements and achievements, for the sake of common interests and prosperity. Thus Indonesia seeks to strengthen ASEAN’s position as a region that is stable and peaceful and consistently upholds international law, strengthens cooperation and does not become a proxy for any power, so that ASEAN is able to become a region that is strong, inclusive, and has sustainable economic growth.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, at the 13th General Conference Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), said, through the theme ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth, Indonesia seeks to prepare ASEAN to be more advanced by providing solutions to various strategic issues in area. For this reason, strong collaboration is expected to be formed between ASEAN members in order to achieve this goal.

Airlangga also revealed that President Jokowi believes that by 2045, ASEAN will become a group of countries that are more adaptive, responsive, competitive, in line with ASEAN’s global agenda.

ASEAN 2023 produces solutions to various issues such as food security, energy security, financial cooperation, overcoming global supply chain disruptions, mitigating climate change, and responding to instability in the region. In addition, Indonesia also has a target of accelerating the Digital Economic Framework Agreement, where previously Indonesia has made agreements with Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines regarding an integrated digital payment system to facilitate payments and strengthen currencies in the region. It is hoped that in the future, various countries in ASEAN can participate in integrating the digital payment system.

The eyes of the world are once again fixed on Indonesia. The ASEAN Summit Summit in Labuan Bajo and Jakarta in 2023 is expected to make ASEAN a fast-growing, inclusive, sustainable and competitive economic region. Making ASEAN important, not only for Indonesia, but also for ASEAN and the world. 

Author: senior contributor / Political Economy Observer

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