July 12, 2023
JAKARTA – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Tuesday reminded members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to send a clear message that the regional grouping will never be a proxy in great powers’ rivalry.
“ASEAN can only matter if it remains at the driver seat in navigating regional dynamics. We need to send a clear message that ASEAN will never be a proxy in great powers’ rivalry,” Marsudi said at the opening of the plenary session of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The four-day meeting is being held in Jakarta.
Marsudi said ASEAN can navigate the regional and global dynamics by promoting the “paradigm of collaboration”. She called for ASEAN unity and centrality and the need for consistent implementation of the ASEAN Charter during decision making processes in emergency situations
Indonesia is this year’s rotating chair of the regional bloc.
Marsudi said ASEAN can navigate the regional and global dynamics by promoting the “paradigm of collaboration”. She called for ASEAN unity and centrality and the need for consistent implementation of the ASEAN Charter during decision making processes in emergency situations.
The minister said ASEAN members need to expand their inclusive engagement with other regions and groups in their neighborhood. These include the Pacific Islands Forum and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
In other comments, Marsudi said peace and stability has helped the region attain prosperity.
“More than five decades we have enjoyed peace, stability, and prosperity in our region. We can’t take this for granted,” she said.
Marsudi said peace-building in the region is a result of a “systematic effort” to create an inclusive regional architecture and continuous dialogue and collaboration that are based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, ASEAN Charter and international law.
“This is a key trademark of ASEAN. We are open for cooperation without alienation. ASEAN-led processes are clear manifestation of this commitment. We have invested immensely and we must maintain it, particularly now amidst more complex challenges,” she said.
In a discussion between ASEAN foreign ministers and representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Marsudi urged ASEAN members to unite and reject politicization and double standards in tackling human rights issues in the region.
She said ASEAN needs to set an example, promote its values globally, and prioritize constructive engagements over finger-pointing exercises.
Marsudi said the AICHR needs to continuously “evolve and improve” and that its work has to go beyond capacity-building and result in impactful homegrown initiatives.
Sidharto Suryodipuro, Indonesia’s director general for ASEAN cooperation, told a news conference on July 10 that representatives from about 30 countries and regions are participating in this week’s meeting. These include the member states of ASEAN, as well as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.
Participants in the foreign ministerial meetings will discuss long lists of issues including the urgency of concluding negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, denuclearization and the Myanmar issue.