The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic union of 10-member states in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational and sociocultural integration between its members and countries in the Asia-Pacific and 2023 is the year when Indonesia officially takes the chair.
In an official release on the website of The President of The Republic of Indonesia, President Joko Widodo believes that ASEAN still has an important and relevant role for people, both in the region and in the world. This was conveyed by the Head of State in his remarks when officially opening the 2023 ASEAN Indonesia chairmanship kick-off at the Hotel Indonesia (HI) Roundabout, Jakarta, on Sunday, January 29 2023.
The President also said that currently Indonesia is the chairman of ASEAN in the midst of a difficult global situation. According to him, currently the world is still experiencing various crises, starting from the economic crisis, energy crisis, food crisis, to the ongoing war.
However, through Indonesia’s experience of the G20 presidency, the Indonesian chairmanship will be committed to continuing to increase ASEAN’s contribution. This contribution is both in the field of peace and economic growth.
“That ASEAN will continue to contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. That ASEAN will continue to be able to maintain economic growth and ASEAN Matters, the Epicentrum of Growth,” said the President.
On a separate occasion, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi explained that the ASEAN chairmanship theme for 2023 has two major elements. The first element is “ASEAN Matters”, how Indonesia with its chairmanship continues to make ASEAN relevant and important, not only for the Indonesian people, but also for the people of ASEAN and outside ASEAN.
Second, Indonesia wants ASEAN to continue to play a central role so that it can become a motor and can contribute to regional stability and peace, including the Indo-Pacific. “Therefore, Mr President said that we want ASEAN to play a very important role, to become a locomotive to move the Indo-Pacific to remain a peaceful and stable region. That is what ASEAN Matters,” explained the Foreign Minister.
Furthermore, regarding the “Epicentrum of Growth”, the Foreign Minister said that ASEAN’s history has always been related to economic issues. According to him, ASEAN’s economic growth is always higher than the world’s economic growth from year to year. For the 2023 projection, for example, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects ASEAN growth at 4.7-percent, while the world economic growth projection from the World Bank is 1.7-percent.
“The President wants this, this is an asset, we will continue to improve it so that Southeast Asia, ASEAN can become the epicenter of growth or the center of economic growth.
How? There are several collaborations that will be strengthened, including in the health sector, of course because the pandemic has not yet been resolved, then the second is in the energy sector, the third is in the food sector, and the fourth is strengthening financial cooperation,” he explained.
Source: The President of The Republic of Indonesia website, BPMI Setpres