Indonesia wants ASEAN to take central role in developing Indo-Pacific cooperation
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
Amid global challenges facing the region and beyond, Indonesia has urged ASEAN to strengthen its unity and take a central role in developing the framework of the Indo-Pacific strategy to move toward inclusive cooperation.
Southeast Asian country leaders gathered on Saturday to conclude the last day of the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore, during which they discussed concerns on regional issues in the retreat session.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo brought to the table Indonesia's proposal on the Indo-Pacific strategy, which calls for cooperation among all countries with Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean coasts.
Read also: EDITORIAL: Jokowi's Indo-Pacific vision
"ASEAN must be able to play a role in developing the framework of Indo-Pacific cooperation [...] which is important for ASEAN to stay relevant and maintain its centrality," Jokowi said on Saturday.
President Jokowi said that for ASEAN to realize the goal, it needed to create an environment that was conducive to cooperation, address security challenges, including transnational crimes, and be proactive in establishing a new center for economic growth.
Jakarta's proposal on the Indo-Pacific concept was previously conveyed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to her Southeast Asian counterparts during a retreat session of the ASEAN Summit in January.
Indonesia has also held dialogues on the Indo-Pacific strategy with representatives of several country partners in the past, including the United States and Japan. (evi)
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