Indonesia Prepares to Host ASEAN Summit, Discusses Priorities and Progress

President Jokowi receives ASEAN chairmanship symbolically from Cambodia PM Hun Sen. (Photo by: BPMI Presidential Secretariat/Laily Rachev)

Indonesia is set to host the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo from May 9-11, 2023. The government is currently finalizing preparations for the event, both in terms of organization and deliverables.

This was announced by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta on Wednesday (4/5).

“Currently, preparations for the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo are being finalized, both in terms of organization and deliverables,” said Retno.

During the press conference, she also revealed the steps that Indonesia has taken in the last three months as the ASEAN chair. From January to March 2023, she said, 190 meetings have been held at various levels, out of a total of 531 scheduled meetings. Of the total meetings, 301 will be held in Indonesia.

Retno also revealed several issues that are a priority and are being discussed by ASEAN. These include combating human trafficking, accelerating negotiations on the Code of Conduct (CoC) text, and the preparation of a roadmap for Timor Leste’s full membership in ASEAN.

Efforts to strengthen financial stability and digitalization of the economy and tourism sectors are also among Indonesia’s priorities as the ASEAN chair.

Retno also disclosed that Indonesia has been working hard to promote the implementation of the 5-point consensus (5PC) in resolving the conflict in Myanmar.

One of her actions is to approach various parties to create inclusive dialogue in Myanmar. “These engagements with various stakeholders are carried out in accordance with the mandate of the 5PC,” said Retno.

She also revealed that for the first time, Indonesia as the ASEAN chair has held a meeting with several special envoys to discuss the situation in Myanmar and efforts to promote democracy in the country.

“Including the special envoys of the UN Secretary-General, special envoys from Myanmar’s neighboring countries, and special envoys from other countries,” said Retno.

As a reminder, the ASEAN Summit is an annual meeting of the heads of state of ASEAN member countries, which aims to discuss political, security, economic, and socio-cultural issues in the Southeast Asian region.

The meeting is usually held in November each year and is an important forum for strengthening cooperation and integration among ASEAN countries.

In addition, ASEAN Summit meetings are often held with ASEAN partner countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the United States.