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42nd ASEAN Summit Kicks Off, ASEAN Centrality, Economic Growth

  • Indonesian President, Joko Widodo. May. 10, 2023.

    Indonesian President, Joko Widodo. May. 10, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@tribunephl

Published 10 May 2023

"In the future, ASEAN must strengthen its economic integration, strengthen inclusive cooperation, including the implementation of RCEP..."

On Wednesday, the 42nd summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officially kicked off in the town of Labuan Bajo situated in the eastern region of Indonesia.


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Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, delivered a discourse advocating the significance of ASEAN unification and economic integration as key factors in fostering regional peace and development.

"With unity, ASEAN will be able to be a central player in bringing peace and development," President Widodo noted.

"In the future, ASEAN must strengthen its economic integration, strengthen inclusive cooperation, including the implementation of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), and strengthen the health, food, and energy architecture, as well as maintain the financial stability," he said.

It is expected that the summit will yield a comprehensive plan outlining the steps necessary for Timor-Leste to achieve full membership status. In November of the previous year, ASEAN reached a preliminary agreement to include Timor-Leste as its 11th member state.

The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Taur Matan Ruak, attended the Summit and gave a speech after President Widodo's opening address.

 In his speech, Ruak emphasized the importance of recognizing a shared commitment to unity in the development of the ASEAN community, while also reviewing the significant endeavors undertaken by Timor-Leste towards obtaining ASEAN membership.

This year's Summit, held under the ASEAN chairmanship of Indonesia, has been themed with the title of "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth." Indonesia has conveyed its aspirations for the block to continue serving as a central hub for not only regional but also global growth. The focus is on achieving a long-term sustainable economic growth across ASEAN by means of inclusive and rapidly expanding policies.

According to the Asian Development Bank's projections from the beginning of April, developing Asia's gross domestic product is anticipated to experience a rise of 4.8 percent in the current year, as well as in 2024, in comparison to the 4.2 percent growth recorded in 2022. Such an increase has been attributed to the resilience displayed by the Asia-Pacific region in terms of economic growth.

During the Summit, Indonesia presented a comprehensive conceptualization of ASEAN 2045, in addition to conducting a deliberative process concerning the draft ASEAN Leaders Declaration intended to reinforce institutional capacity and efficacy within the ASEAN community. This announcement was made by Teuku Faizasyah, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Monday last week.

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