Indonesian President Cautions Against ASEAN Becoming a Proxy for Any Country

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Indonesian President Cautions Against ASEAN Becoming a Proxy for Any Country

Indonesian President Cautions Against ASEAN Becoming a Proxy for Any Country

Indonesian President Joko Widodo emphasized that ASEAN should not serve as a proxy for other countries, particularly as tensions between the United States and China escalate over Asia-Pacific issues.

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened in Jakarta to discuss regional matters, ranging from the disputed South China Sea, which China claims almost in its entirety, to the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, where China is the junta's primary ally. 

Divergent views on the South China Sea have created divisions within ASEAN, with some member states aligning themselves against Beijing's assertiveness, while others have expressed support for China. This has bolstered sympathy for the United States, which opposes China's growing influence.

 President Widodo underscored the importance of ASEAN maintaining its autonomy and not becoming a platform for competition between external powers. He called for consistent adherence to international law and emphasized ASEAN's commitment to unity, solidarity, and centrality to safeguard peace and stability in the region. 

Tensions between the world's two largest economies, the US and China have significantly heightened in recent years due to various issues, such as China's military exercises around Taiwan, as well as US export restrictions on advanced semiconductors. 

Both China and the United States are participating in the Jakarta meetings, with their top diplomats engaging in discussions on the sidelines. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China's Wang

Yi about potential consequences following a cybersecurity breach attributed to China, which posed a threat to the nascent stabilization of bilateral relations, according to a US official. Wang urged the US not to interfere in China's internal affairs and suggested working together to improve their relationship, as stated by the Chinese foreign ministry. 

ASEAN has experienced divisions regarding the crisis in Myanmar and how to engage with the pro-China junta since the military coup in 2021, which plunged the country into violent turmoil. The bloc issued a communique on Thursday that reiterated its condemnation of violence and stressed the need to uphold the five-point peace plan agreed with the junta. However, the plan has made limited progress in resolving the conflict. While Myanmar remains an ASEAN member, its leaders have been excluded from high-level summits due to the lack of progress in implementing the peace plan, which aims to end violence and facilitate dialogue between the military and the anti-coup movement. 

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi highlighted the importance of maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific region, urging that it should not become a battleground. She emphasized the intention to preserve stability and peace within the region during the East Asia Summit ministerial meeting, which involved 18 nations.

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