Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed his disappointment over the failed Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) communiqué during the newly arranged ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“This had never happened since the ASEAN was established. I am disappointed and really concerned,” Yudhoyono told the media on Monday to comment on the ASEAN foreign ministers’ failure to reach a consensus regarding the prolonged South China Sea dispute.
The impromptu press conference was made after Yudhoyono met with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa at the Presidential Office in the morning to talk about the fallout of the one-week ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.
The summit ended on July 13, for the first time in ASEAN’s 45-year history, with no joint communiqué.
“This could lead to misperceptions or false depictions about ASEAN. The media has said ASEAN was broken and there was no longer unity in the region,” Yudhoyono said.
“I disagree. ASEAN is not shattered and there is no disunity despite existing issues that must be resolved,” he added.
Indonesia is one of ASEAN’s founding members,
Marty said he was called by Yudhoyono and asked to meet the President at the latter’s office immediately after he returned home from Cambodia.
“The President has instructed me to tour some ASEAN cities to meet my counterparts with a hope that we can still reach consensus before the upcoming ASEAN Summit in November at the latest,” Marty said.
Among ASEAN cities, Marty has planned to visit in the near future Manila, the Philippines; Hanoi, Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.