JAKARTA–Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on ASEAN leaders to transform the association into a relevant organization to become a solution to the world problems.
The Indonesian president, in response to recent global concerns and conditions, made the appeal during the plenary session at the 30th ASEAN Summit at Reception Hall, Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, on Saturday.
“We are witnessing some alarming events that create a state of uncertainty in the world,” he said.
However, the uncertainty itself seems to have become “a new normal” today. Therefore, Jokowi invited the ASEAN community to bring about change.
“ASEAN leaders must have the courage to look at our strengths and weaknesses so that it will remain a relevant organization for its people and for the world,” he stated.
ASEAN is considered to have successfully established a system for the peace and welfare of its people for the past 50 years.
This achievement has made ASEAN the worlds power that always attracts the attention of other great powers.
Indonesia also hopes that ASEAN continues to grow into a modern organization that could overcome all the challenges of the times.
“ASEAN has become a place for great powers to talk to each other. The announcement of the US Vice President in Jakarta last week that the US President will attend the ASEAN-US Summit and East Asia Summit 2017 shows the strong interest of US in maintaining good relations with ASEAN,” he noted.
However, according to Jokowi, there are a number of issues that must be addressed by the ASEAN community.
“ASEAN meetings should be made more effective and efficient,” he added.
In addition, awareness and a sense of being a part of ASEAN also need to be built; migrant workers should be protected; sailors should feel safe in the waters of ASEAN; our micro, small, and medium enterprises should continue to be empowered; and ASEANs human rights should be protected and promoted,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the president stressed that ASEAN must remain active in providing solutions for the world amidst global warming, geopolitical conditions, and rivalries. Unity and centrality are the keys to achieve that.
“Do not let ASEAN become a proxy for the rivalry of big powers. ASEAN must remain a hub of regional diplomacy. Unity and centrality are the keys to making ASEAN a respected organization,” he reiterated.
Furthermore, Jokowi also explained about the current conditions that occur in the ASEAN region.
He also asked the leaders of ASEAN countries to join and focus on solving problems.
“I want to remind you about the spread of cross-border activities such as piracy, radicalism and terrorism, IUU Fishing, and other crimes. ASEAN leaders should pay greater attention to coping with these transnational crimes. We should not to be late,” he stressed.
Finally, he expressed hope that ASEAN would encourage and strengthen economic cooperation with outsiders to deal with the issues of other countries.
He also hoped that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations should be completed as soon as possible.
Prior to attending the plenary sessions at the 30th ASEAN Summit, Jokowi and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo attended the opening of the 30th ASEAN Summit.
They were accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, Minister/Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and Indonesian Ambassador to Philippines Johny J. Lumintang.