Asean, East Asian leaders reminded: Keep peace and stability in the region
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian President Joko Widodo issued a stern reminder to regional leaders during the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit: You have a huge responsibility to keep the peace in the region.
Leaders from the Asean, as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States, gathered during the 18th East Asia Summit in Jakarta. Included among them was President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“I just want to emphasize one point, that we are all sitting around this table, have an equally enormous responsibility to create peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We have a shared responsibility to not create new conflicts, to not create new tensions, to not create new wars and at the same time, we are also responsible to ease high tensions, to soften hard conditions, to create rooms for dialogue and to bridge existential differences,” said Widodo, who serves as this year’s Asean Chair.
This year’s Asean Summit comes amid turbulent times, with escalating tensions in the South China Sea, as well as the militarization of Myanmar.
While Widodo did not make mention of specific issues during his opening speech, he pointed out that peace and stability has long been tackled.
China, whose Premier Li Qiang attended the 43rd Asean Summit, has been the recipient of repeated warnings following its brazen behavior in the South China Sea.
“Hard to tell how many times the words peace and stability have been uttered by every one of us. It definitely shows that essentially we acknowledge peace and stability are the main key to achieving prosperity,” said Widodo.
The Asean has been criticized as being ineffective. The South China Sea Code of Conduct for example, has long been discussed among countries but has yet to be finalized.