INDONESIA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has revealed a series of cooperation agreements during the 43rd ASEAN Summit, with a total value of approximately US$38.2 billion.
These agreements, announced during the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) 2023, signify strong support from ASEAN countries and global partners for regional economic development.
President Jokowi, speaking at the Hotel Mulia in Senayan, Jakarta on Tuesday (5 Sept), highlighted the significance of these agreements, stating, “I appreciate the support and contributions of ASEAN countries and ASEAN partners, which have resulted in 93 cooperation projects worth US$ 38.2 billion and 73 potential projects valued at US$17.8 billion.”
He emphasized that this reflects the commitment of ASEAN nations to building a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
“We hope our efforts will bring significant benefits to the region and the world,” added Joko Widodo.
Transforming Indo-Pacific rivalries into collaborative prosperity
Acknowledging the current intensifying rivalries among nations, especially in the Indo-Pacific region, President Jokowi emphasized the need to transform these tensions into cooperation.
The ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) 2023 was designed to mitigate these rivalries and promote beneficial cooperation.
“The ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum is here to transform the rivalry in the Indo-Pacific into fruitful cooperation and establish a habit of win-win cooperation without anyone feeling isolated,” he stated.
The President commended the robust economic growth within ASEAN countries, especially in the context of a weakening global economy.
He noted, “We should be proud of the economic growth among our nations. In the midst of a weakening global economy, ASEAN’s economy has proven to be resilient and continues to outpace global economic growth, despite having a population of 680 million people.”
While ASEAN offers a promising investment market, President Jokowi acknowledged the challenges the region faces.
He stated, “ASEAN is also a potential market with promising investment opportunities, but our region is not immune to various global challenges and escalating geopolitical rivalries, especially the potential conflicts in the Indo-Pacific.”
The ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum addressed the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) with topics such as green infrastructure development, resilient supply chains, sustainable and innovative financing, and inclusive digital transformation and creative economies.
Key agendas at the 43rd ASEAN Summit: From Myanmar crisis resolution to strengthening ASEAN’s global partnerships
In addition to these discussions, the 43rd ASEAN Summit also tackled various issues:
- Myanmar Crisis Resolution:
The resolution of the Myanmar issue was discussed during the 43rd ASEAN Summit Retreat on Wednesday (6 Sep).
Quoting the Secretariat of the Cabinet of the Republic of Indonesia‘s website, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi stated that the meeting resulted in a leaders’ review document regarding the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) for resolving the Myanmar issue.
Despite the perceived lack of progress, 5PC remains a reference point, urging the cessation of violence and continued engagement with stakeholders in Myanmar.
ASEAN, particularly Indonesia, is committed to providing humanitarian aid to Myanmar.
2. ASEAN-China Cooperation:
The summit focused on building trust and upholding international law as a means to achieve regional peace and stability.
Discussions included upgrading the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) 3.0, economic digitalization, green economy, and supply chain cooperation.
Negotiations for a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea were also accelerated.
3. ASEAN-Republic of Korea Relations:
South Korea announced contributions of USD 30 million for AI capacity-building and USD 16 million for AOIP implementation.
Concerns related to the Korean Peninsula, including missile launches and nuclear programs, were addressed.
4. ASEAN-Japan Cooperation:
President Jokowi has invited Japan to increase its contributions to infrastructure funding in ASEAN countries, particularly in connectivity and green infrastructure.
He stated, “ASEAN requires infrastructure investment worth $184 billion annually. ASEAN hopes Japan will continue to enhance its contributions to the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund and the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility to support connectivity and green infrastructure.”
Furthermore, Jokowi mentioned that ASEAN and Japan have agreed to form a partnership to realize mutually beneficial concrete cooperation.
As one of ASEAN’s most active partners and a key supporter of AOIP, Jokowi hopes that ASEAN and Japan can together maintain security stability and improve the well-being of their societies.
The discussion at the ASEAN-Japan Summit focused on understanding the importance of maintaining a conducive situation in the region, particularly in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.
They also emphasized collaboration in green infrastructure development, connectivity, energy transition, and digital economy.
Japan also committed to providing funding of $100 million to support the implementation of AOIP through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) 3.0.
5. ASEAN Plus Three:
The APT countries are the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. In this meeting, President Jokowi emphasized peace and stability in the region at the ASEAN APT Summit.
Not only peace and regional stability, but Jokowi also called on APT to continue respecting international law.
Despite having yielded many results, cooperation between APT and ASEAN is expected to create numerous new opportunities.