Statement of President of the Republic of Indonesia after Closing Ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit, Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, September 7, 2023
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Thank God, the 43rd ASEAN Summit and other Summits have run smoothly. In the midst of challenging situation, Indonesia’s Chairmanship has produced concrete results as part of the measures to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.
In the forum, I did in fact state that every leader has an equal responsibility to not create new conflicts, to not create new tensions and at the same time we also have responsibility to lower heated tensions, to soften frozen situations, and to create space for dialogue.
I assure you that the world will be destroyed if conflicts and tensions in one place spread to other places. Once we are not able to manage differences, we will be destroyed. If we get carried away by the flow of rivalry, we will be destroyed. This world needs an anchor, a neutralizer, and a safe house. I can confirm that until now ASEAN has been on the right track to be able to carry out this role, to become a contributor to stability and peace, and become the epicentrum of growth.
After going through a long and difficult process, we finally succeeded in agreeing on the EAS Leaders’ Joint Statement regarding the epicentrum of growth. Once again, this is not easy process. The geopolitical situation is very delicate. It reminds me of the G20 in Bali, but thank God a consensus has been reached.
Apart from that, ASEAN as part of the Asia Pacific region continues to work hard, carry out collaboration, and invite all parties to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Indonesia and ASEAN also continue to voice the interests of Pacific countries and the interests of developing countries, including the right to bring prosperity to the people and undertake industrial downstreaming. Thank God, we have also reached an agreement in this sector for the development of an end-to-end EV ecosystem that is fully supported by the PRC [People’s Republic of China], Japan and [Republic of] Korea.
Lastly, regarding Myanmar, ASEAN will continue Indonesia’s efforts during its chairmanship, namely to implement the ASEAN’s five-point consensus to assist Myanmar, one of which is through the establishment of a troika mechanism.
In the forum, I did in fact state that every leader has an equal responsibility to not create new conflicts, to not create new tensions and at the same time we also have responsibility to lower heated tensions, to soften frozen situations, and to create space for dialogue. I can guarantee you, if we are unable to manage differences we will be destroyed. If we join the current rivalry, we will be destroyed. This world needs a safe house and ASEAN is on the track to be able to perform this role. And after going through a difficult process, we finally agreed to the EAS leaders’ joint statement on the epicentrum of growth. Indonesia and ASEAN also continue to voice the interests of Pacific countries and the interests of developing countries, including the right to bring prosperity to their people and undertake industrial downstreaming. Thank you.
Journalist from Kompas (Nina)
Sir, I am Nina from Kompas. My question is, is it the right policy that we are focusing on making ASEAN the epicentrum of economic growth, while there are still other real issues that have not been resolved, including the issue of Myanmar and the South China Sea? The next question, do partner countries understand ASEAN’s need to prioritize economic cooperation or do they continue to push their own agendas? You said that you hope ASEAN leaders and partner countries will not create new tensions and will reduce tensions. How did the leaders of ASEAN countries and partner countries respond to the statement, and how will they implement it? Thank you, sir.
Journalist from Bisnis Indonesia (Akbar Evandio)
Good afternoon, sir. I am Akbar Evandio from Bisnis Indonesia. My question is: Regarding the commitment produced by this ASEAN Summit, what will Indonesia bring to the upcoming G20 Summit in India? And what are the concrete benefits for the people from this Summit? Thank you.
Journalist from Al Jazeera (Jessica Washington)
Good afternoon, Mr. President. A lot has been said about five-point consensus and the lack of progress in the implementation of that plan. Do you feel that it reflects the effectiveness of ASEAN as a whole, that it is not only the responsibility of the authorities in Myanmar, but ASEAN as a bloc? Do you feel like perhaps its lack of progress reflects poorly on the relevance of ASEAN? Thank you.
Journalist from Nikkei Asia (Erwida)
Good afternoon, Mr. President, I am Erwida from Nikkei Asia. My question is, in your opinion, what are the most important achievement in terms of economic cooperation during the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit. Thank you.
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
The first question is whether the epicentrum of growth is the right policy, considering that we are facing Myanmar issues. This is the right policy, because in the midst of geopolitical rivalry and tension, the world needs a pivot to keep turning on its path. ASEAN has great potential for this, because the growth in ASEAN is higher than the global average, and we have demographic bonus and political stability. It is the duty of Indonesia and other ASEAN countries to ensure that, as I said, the ASEAN ship continues to sail.
Tomorrow afternoon I will go to India to attend the G20 Summit. In my opinion, stability and peace are the key to prosperity, and the world needs a safe house, so collaboration and cooperation must be prioritized. Indonesia will continue to voice the interests of developing countries regarding inclusivity and rights for the wealth of the people, including industrial downstreaming.
Regarding Myanmar, there are questions about whether ASEAN is effective in resolving this issue, because some parties say there has been no progress. Let me reaffirm that ASEAN has agreed to continue its efforts. During Indonesia’s chairmanship, 145 engagements were carried out with 70 stakeholders, and we see that trust has been developed among the stakeholders. We will continue these efforts. Achieving peace takes a long time, but we have to keep doing this, we have to keep fighting. ASEAN will not be held hostage by the Myanmar issue. ASEAN must continue to move forward to achieve peace, stability, and prosperity.
There was also a question about economic benefits. There are many decisions that have been made, including what I have already conveyed, namely the EAS declaration regarding the epicentrum of growth, development of the EV battery ecosystem, and acceleration on the implementation of regional cross-border payment and local currency transaction. The implementation of the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum has produced concrete results, namely 93 projects worth US$38.2 billion. Once again, this is concrete cooperation that brings benefits for the people.
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Retno Marsudi)
Mr. President, and all journalists.
I would like to add some information regarding the economic achievement. When we looked at the 42nd Summit, most of the results responded to the need of the people, including protection of migrant workers, protection of vessel crew, village network, one health initiative, and, as stated by Mr. President, development of the EV ecosystem in ASEAN.
At the 43rd Summit, what ASEAN had agreed to at the 42nd Summit was then translated into cooperation with our partners. At ASEAN Plus Three, cooperation has been agreed by ASEAN Plus Three, namely ASEAN, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and China, regarding the development of the EV ecosystem. We also carried out many other initiatives during Indonesia’s chairmanship, including strengthening the pillars that can support the epicentrum of growth, namely food security, energy security, health, and, as stated by Mr. President, financing issues.
Second, let me elaborate what Mr. President said. There was a question regarding the statement of the President on the importance of efforts to create stability, security, and peace.
Mr. President in his speech said that we need to highlight the importance of peace and stability. We must make efforts to achieve our goals and find ways to achieve the goals we have set.
That is the message conveyed by the President. As an illustration for all of you, in Bali, before we started the Summit, the negotiation documents for the declaration have been completed. Now, we were just able to complete it five minutes before EAS started. And once again, amid sharp differences, there is still hope, there is still optimism for working together. And, the resulting declaration, once again, is about the epicentrum of growth that will benefit hundreds of millions of people in Southeast Asia and beyond. Thank you.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs (Airlangga Hartanto)
One of the mainstays of the Epicentrum of Growth is the Digital Economy Framework Agreement. It is a master plan set during Indonesia’s chairmanship. The Digital Economy Framework Agreement includes a comprehensive agreement on digitalization covering digital talent, digital ID, cyber security, retraining, reskilling, infrastructure, and interoperability in ASEAN. Without this, the digital economy in ASEAN is estimated to reach one trillion by 2030. With this, it can be increased to two trillion. The target of this agreement is expected to be completed in 2025 and the drafting has been prepared, and Thailand is tasked with completing this by 2025.
Regarding energy security and renewable energy, one of the concerns of Leaders’ Declaration is interconnectivity of the energy strengthening, namely Trans-ASEAN Power Grid.
Regarding the financial sector, we have the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) worth 240 billion through ADB, and we will improve the mechanism, because the mechanism is relatively more complicated than the mechanism in the IMF. This is our task in the future.