PRESIDENT Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on the United States to become a positive force in ensuring that the Indo-Pacific remains a stable, peaceful, and prosperous region through concrete and inclusive cooperation.

Jokowi made the statement amid competition between two global major powers, the US and China, for influence in the Indo-Pacific, which is feared to threaten stability and peace in the region.

“ASEAN has agreed to continue to serve as the locomotive of peace and stability in the region, where the Indo-Pacific must become a platform for collaboration,” he said during the 11th ASEAN-US Summit in Jakarta on Wednesday (9/06), 2023. The US delegation was led by Vice President Kamala Harris.

It is essential for ASEAN and the US to establish a solid and sustainable partnership as Southeast Asia is a very promising region, Jokowi added.

He highlighted that Southeast Asia is projected to become an international trade hub by 2045 and contribute 5.4 percent to the global gross domestic product (GDP). Therefore, a solid and sustainable partnership will benefit not only ASEAN, but also the US.

Jokowi, however, stressed that the partnership will only be possible if there is a strong commitment by both parties to maintaining regional peace and stability.

During the opening of the 43rd ASEAN Summit on Tuesday, he emphasized that ASEAN must not be an arena of destructive rivalries. It has also agreed to not be a proxy to any powers.

The ASEAN-US Summit was held as part of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Jakarta from September 5 to 7, 2023, under Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship.

Indonesia is holding the ASEAN chairmanship this year and has raised the theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.” The vision of Indonesia’s chairmanship is to build a resilient, adaptive, and inclusive ASEAN. [antaranews]