ASEAN countries agree not to be proxies for any power.


Indonesia on Tuesday pressed for unity in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the regional leaders met for the 43rd summit in Jakarta.

“All of us are aware of the magnitude of the current world challenges, and the main key to facing them is unity,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as “Jokowi”, said as he opened the ASEAN leaders’ summit.

He said ASEAN’s direction was clear: to become the epicentre of growth.”

Leaders of Southeast Asian nations met in the Indonesian capital on Tuesday for the annual summit of the ASEAN.

Emphasising hard work, he called ASEAN “a big ship” that has a big responsibility to the hundreds of millions of people “who sail together in it.”

“ASEAN agreed not to become a proxy for any power. Don’t turn our ship into a battleground for rivalries that destroy one another,” Jakarta Globe News quoted Jokowi as saying.

“This ocean is too vast for us to sail alone. We will meet other ships, namely ASEAN’s dialogue partners. Let us work in concert to achieve fair and mutually beneficial cooperation as we sail towards an epicentrum of growth,” he said.

However, he added, “Differences of opinion among the bloc’s members are common. ASEAN remains united to this day.”

“Unity is harmony in diversity,” said Jokowi, adding that the ASEAN “plays a crucial role” in maintaining peace in the wider Asia-Pacific region.