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Indonesia’s President Informs World, ASEAN Will Not Allow ‘Proxy Wars’ in Its Region

Sept. 6, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—On Tuesday, Sept. 5, Indonesian President Joko Widodo opened three days of multiple summits in Jakarta, all involving ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—with a sharp message to those seeking to divide the world into hostile, geopolitical camps: “Do not make our ship, ASEAN, an arena of destructive rivalry, but make the ASEAN ship a space to foster cooperation. This is to create prosperity, stability, and peace, not only for the region but also for the world.”

The situation in the world is worsening, and future challenges “are increasingly difficult and result in a struggle for influence by big powers,” he stated. “However, the President continued, ASEAN has agreed not to become a proxy for any power,” the official ASEAN 2023 release on his speech reported.

President Widodo urged the ASEAN nations to stand together, so they can grow economically through equality, which strengthens unity and respects diversity. “Equality has become a rarity in the world. Many injustices and conflicts occur as a result of inequality.” Equality strengthens unity, while unity does not mean there are no differences of opinion. There can be harmony in diversity, as Indonesia itself shows, with its abundance of ethnic groups, cultures, languages and regions. “Differences in opinions enrich democracy. It shows that as a family, we have an equal position.”

He later reiterated that there are hundreds of millions of people aboard ASEAN’s ship, and therefore “despite having to sail through a storm, we as leaders must ensure that this ship can continue to sail, and we have to be captains of our own ship to achieve peace, to achieve stability, to achieve prosperity together.”

As has become customary, a whole slew of ASEAN summits are held around the annual ASEAN Summit itself: (short) individual summits between ASEAN and each of its seven Dialogue Partners (Australia, China, Japan, India, Republic of Korea, United States and Canada), the ASEAN Plus Three (South Korea, Japan and China), the ASEAN-United Nations Summit, and then the broader East Asia Summit of 18 countries (all those named above, plus Russia and the United States).

The East Asia Summit, which President Biden is scheduled to attend, will occur on Thursday, Sept. 7, but any U.S. hopes that it could use that summit to gang up on China as the biggest threat to the region, have already been proven delusional. The “Joint Statement on Mutually Beneficial Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” issued from the ASEAN-China summit today reaffirms their common commitment to multilateralism, the principles of the UN Charter and international law, “mutual benefit and mutual respect in jointly responding to regional and global challenges,” and the like. Furthermore, it acknowledges that all ASEAN Member States and China have signed bilateral agreements of cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, with “its spirit of promoting peace and cooperation.”

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