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Indonesian president reiterates ASEAN not a proxy for any power

Indonesian President Joko Widodo opened the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on September 5, 2023. (The Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that currently, equality has become a rare thing globally, triggering many injustices and conflicts.

 

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo reiterated that the unity of ASEAN countries has been maintained until now and the organization has agreed not to become a proxy for any power.

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President Widodo made the remarks while opening the 43rd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit, at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), Tuesday (Sept. 5).

When receiving a courtesy call from ASEAN foreign ministers and the ASEAN secretary general, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on February 3, 2023, the president called on ASEAN not to become anyone’s proxy and stressed the importance of the regional stability.

“Indeed, lately I often hear public questions related to ASEAN, whether ASEAN would be divided and unable to unite or whether the ASEAN ‘ship’ would be able to keep going. On this good opportunity, as a member of the family and as the chair of ASEAN, I would like to underline that ASEAN’s unity is still well maintained,” he said.

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (seventh left) posed for a photo with, (from left) Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown, President of Bangladesh Mohammed Shahabuddin, President of the Philippines Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Sarun Charoensuwan, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Laotian Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, at the opening of the 43rd ASEAN Summit 2023 in Jakarta, Tuesday (Sept. 5, 2023). (The Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat)

According to Widodo, this unity cannot be interpreted by the absence of differences of opinion, but rather by remaining united amid the diversity that is owned by the countries in ASEAN.

“As a country with various ethnicities, cultures, languages, and religions, as for Indonesia, unity is a harmony in differences, including differences of opinions. This is because differences of opinions actually nourish democracy, showing that we as a family have an equal position,” he said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that currently, equality has become a rare thing globally, triggering many injustices and conflicts.

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“However in ASEAN, it is different. Equality is actually the main value that we respect and uphold together within the framework of unity and togetherness, so that the ‘big ship’ of ASEAN can continue to sail,” he explained.

The president pointed out that despite unfavorable global circumstances and future challenges that are getting more severe and leading to struggles for influences by major powers, ASEAN is committed not to becoming a proxy for any power and is ready to cooperate with anyone for peace and prosperity.

“Do not make our ‘ship’, ASEAN, an arena of rivalry that destroys each other, but make this ASEAN ‘ship’, a field to foster cooperation to create prosperity, create stability, create peace, not only for the region but also for the world,” he stated.

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In that same spirit, the president also invited ASEAN countries to establish cooperation with various parties in order to make ASEAN as an epicentrum of growth.

“The ocean is too vast to sail alone. On our voyage, there will be other ships, ships of ASEAN partners. Let us together realize equal and mutually beneficial cooperation to sail together towards the epicentrum of growth,” he remarked.

Editing by Indonesia Window

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