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The 43rd ASEAN Summit Officially Opens, Indonesia Affirms that ASEAN Unity Continues to Progress

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President Jokowi officially opened the 43rd Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the Jakarta Convention Center. In his opening speech, President Jokowi expressed his belief that not only Indonesia, but other ASEAN countries also have pride and love for the family called ASEAN.

President Jokowi also expressed his answer to the growing issue regarding whether ASEAN would be divided by responding that the ASEAN family would continue to be able to progress because ASEAN unity is still well maintained.

As President Jokowi and all the Indonesian people are very happy to welcome the big ASEAN family, President Jokowi emphasized in front of the leaders of the ASEAN Summit guest countries, that unity should not be interpreted as a situation without differences. However, for Indonesia which has diversity, unity is harmony in differences, including differences of opinion which actually fosters democracy and equality.

This equality is a rare commodity in the world, because currently many injustices due to inequality occur in a number of regions. But in ASEAN it is different. President Jokowi also reiterated that equality is the main value shared by Southeast Asian countries, in addition to togetherness and unity, so that in the future ASEAN will further progress towards becoming the Epicentrum of Growth.

Previously, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, stated that the 43rd ASEAN Summit would determine ASEAN’s credibility amidst increasing rivalries and world geopolitical problems. As public attention is focused on Indonesia to prove that ASEAN is still important and capable of contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

At the 43rd ASEAN Summit, Indonesia pushed for three important focuses to strengthen cooperation and solidarity between ASEAN member countries. The first focus is on improving the human resources (HR) of the ASEAN community. Indonesia recognizes the importance of investment in human resource development as the key to achieving sustainable growth and prosperity for all citizens in the region.

The second focus is dialogues related to Human Rights (HAM) and maritime cooperation between member countries. Indonesia considers that upholding human rights and close maritime cooperation are important foundations in maintaining stability and sustainable development in the ASEAN region.

The third focus discussed was on the regional agenda in the future. This includes the fields of trade, investment, digitalization, blue economy, and the Indo-Pacific outlook . Indonesia views that economic sustainability and development in ASEAN must be supported by close cooperation and strategic agendas to face future challenges.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi also explained that through the 43rd Summit, a number of ASEAN countries had signed treaty agreements with a number of parties which proved that the norms and values ​​held by ASEAN were more widely recognized.

At the 43rd ASEAN Summit, President Jokowi also had the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with a number of leaders of ASEAN member countries and partners, as well as participate in various discussions and forums related to strategic issues in the region.

Indonesia is committed to strengthening ASEAN institutions, establishing closer cooperation, and formulating concrete steps for a better future. The President also invited all ASEAN leaders to jointly realize the common goal of creating a safe, prosperous and highly competitive region.

As the holder of the 2023 ASEAN Chair, Indonesia presided over 12 meetings during the 43rd Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center. Several sessions chaired by President Jokowi, namely the ASEAN Summit in plenary and retreat formats, the 26th ASEAN-China Summit, the 24th ASEAN-South Korea Summit, the East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Plus Three Summit (Japan, China, and Korea) South). State leaders discussed a number of strategic issues and challenges facing the Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific regions and formulated concrete steps to enhance regional cooperation.

The 2023 ASEAN Summit in Jakarta was attended by leaders of ASEAN member countries, as well as partner countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Australia and India. More than 27 leaders of countries and international organizations attended, including participants from the East Asia Summit, the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), the Prime Minister of Canada, as well as the Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. On this occasion, Indonesia seeks to manifest its role as a world center of growth in an effort to enhance cooperation in ASEAN, particularly in the areas of food security, energy, health and financial stability.

One of the key issues raised at this summit is handling the impacts of climate change and environmental preservation. ASEAN leaders made this issue a top priority, considering the importance of cooperation in overcoming the increasingly real threat of climate change. Measures to promote renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and conserve natural resources are important topics of discussion.

The challenges ahead for ASEAN will certainly be even more difficult because there is a struggle for influence. And as President Jokowi stated at the opening of the ASEAN Summit, ASEAN has agreed not to become a proxy for any power, for the sake of peace and prosperity. So, ASEAN will not compete with each other to become rivalries that attack each other. ASEAN side by side to create peace not only in the region but also in the world. If the world’s oceans are too far to sail alone, ASEAN partner ships are there to work together as equals towards the Epicentrum of Growth.

It is hoped that the results of this meeting will strengthen cooperation and unity among ASEAN member countries, bring greater benefits to the people of the Southeast Asian region, and lead the region towards a better future.

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