The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took the stage at the ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines, on Saturday to call on the members of the regional block to unite to push North Korea to take steps to reduce escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Speaking before the 10 leaders of the ASEAN countries during a retreat at the summit, Jokowi emphasized Indonesia’s commitment to maintain peace and stability in the region. “ASEAN must send strong messages to North Korea to make it comply with all UN Security Council resolutions,” he asserted.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula grew stronger on Saturday after North Korea made another failed ballistic missile test, just days after the United States sent warships to waters in the area in an apparent show of force against the communist regime.
President Jokowi called on all parties to refrain from doing anything that could further worsen the tensions in the region. “Stability and peace must be returned to the Korean Peninsula,” Jokowi told the forum.
Jokowi said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the near future and express Indonesia’s hopes that China, one of North Korea’s allies, would take a part in reducing tensions.
In addition, Jokowi also asked ASEAN members to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, where China and four ASEAN member countries were engaged in territorial disputes.
Jokowi hoped that the framework for a code of conduct (COC), a document of provisions to prevent conflict in the disputed waters, could be finished by the middle of this year. Indonesia is a non-claimant in the dispute, but has a direct interest in maintaining peace and security in the region. (ebf)