"As a member of the ASEAN family and the chair of ASEAN, I would like to emphasize that ASEAN unity until this day is still maintained well," he remarked at the opening of the 43rd ASEAN Summit here on Tuesday.
The 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta is held on September 5-7 under Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship in 2023. Earlier, Indonesia had held the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, in May 2023.
Indonesia is holding the ASEAN chairmanship in 2023, with the theme of "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth." The vision of Indonesia's chairmanship is to build a resilient, adaptive, and inclusive ASEAN, among others.
Jokowi underscored that ASEAN unity does not mean that there are no differences in opinion between member countries.
The head of state noted that Indonesia, as a country with diverse ethnicities, cultures, languages, and religions, sees unity as harmony despite differences, including differences in opinion.
"Because differences in opinion, in fact, nurture democracy. It shows that we, as a family, are on an equal footing," he stated.
According to Jokowi, equality has become a "rare thing" in the world, considering the several injustices and conflicts that continue to occur due to the absence of equality.
"However, in ASEAN, things are different. Equality is, in fact, the primary value that we respect and uphold together in the framework of unity and togetherness, so that the big ship of ASEAN can continue to sail," he affirmed.
The 43rd ASEAN Summit is attended by the heads of state and government from Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei Darussalam.
Thailand is represented by Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sarun Charoensuwan, as the newly elected Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his cabinet are scheduled for inauguration on Tuesday.
The Timor-Leste leader is also attending the summit as an observer.
Indonesia invited Bangladesh, as chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and the Cook Islands, as chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to the summit.
Meanwhile, Myanmar is not participating in the summit, as ASEAN does not allow the country to send its political representatives to ASEAN meetings following the crisis caused by a coup against the country's elected government.
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