President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) officially kicked off Indonesia's 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship at the launching event in Hotel Indonesia Roundabout on Sunday.
Arriving at the roundabout with a bicycle, the president was accompanied by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, State Secretariat Minister Pratikno, and Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadmuljono.
Jokowi was welcomed by residents who flocked to the roundabout for the launching, as well as a marching band performance and a parade of traditional costumes. Foreign ambassadors also attended the ceremony and welcomed the president.
In his remarks, Jokowi said that Indonesia continued the success of the G20 Presidency in 2022 with the ASEAN Chairmanship this year despite global uncertainties and challenges.
"Economic crisis, energy crisis, food crisis, as well as warfare, we face all of them this year," he noted.
The president, however, emphasised that ASEAN will remain essential and relevant for the people, the Southeast Asian region, and all. He also said that ASEAN would continue contributing to the Indo-Pacific region and maintaining regional economic growth.
"ASEAN will continue contributing to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. ASEAN will help maintain economic growth because ASEAN matters and is the epicentre of growth," he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Marsudi said that this year's ASEAN Chairmanship theme, "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth," reflects what Indonesia is seeking to achieve in its chairmanship.
"If we see the theme, we have two major elements. The first element is ASEAN Matters, which means that through its chairmanship, Indonesia continues making ASEAN relevant and important, not only for the Indonesian people but also for the ASEAN people and beyond," Marsudi explained.
Indonesia is keen to make ASEAN the "locomotive" to maintain the Indo-Pacific region as a peaceful and stable region, she said.
The minister stated that the second element of the theme, "Epicentrum of Growth", means that Indonesia wants to capitalise on ASEAN's economic growth, which always records above-average growth than the global economy.
Indonesia took over the ASEAN Chairmanship from its previous holder Cambodia at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 14, 2022.
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