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January 30, 2023, 03.59 PM

JAKARTA, - President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo officially kicked off Indonesia's 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship at the launching event in the Indonesian capital Sunday, Jan. 29.

Held at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, the event featured a marching band performance and a parade of traditional costumes. Jokowi, who was riding a bicycle, was welcomed by the members of the public.

Also present were some cabinet ministers, including Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, State Secretariat Minister Pratikno, and Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadmuljono. Some foreign envoys also attended the event.

In his remarks, Jokowi said that Indonesia would continue 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 said.

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The president, however, emphasized 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 epicenter of growth," he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Retno 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," Retno 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 capitalize on ASEAN's economic growth, which always records above-average growth than the global economy.

Indonesia took over the ASEAN rotating chair from its previous holder Cambodia at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Nov. 14, 2022.

Source: State News Antara

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