"We are all aware of many difficult circumstances in the region, but we cannot allow them to affect our hard work in the summit," said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, adding that ASEAN continues taking a lead in shaping regional dynamics and ensuring peace and inclusiveness in the region.
JAKARTA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the 43rd ASEAN summit convened here on Monday, with an emphasis on ASEAN's unity and inclusiveness.
"We are all aware of many difficult circumstances in the region. But we cannot allow them to affect our hard work in the Summit," said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in the opening remarks, adding that ASEAN continues taking a lead in shaping regional dynamics and ensuring peace and inclusiveness in the region.
According to Marsudi, Secretariat-to-Secretariat cooperation between ASEAN and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), as well as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), would be established on Monday, showing ASEAN's convening power and a wide acceptance of ASEAN's norms and values.
During the ASEAN Coordinating Council meeting on Monday, ASEAN foreign ministers agreed to bring Concord IV to the upcoming ASEAN summit to be ratified by the state leaders, Marsudi said. The concord is a document containing the foundation for the bloc's vision for 2045 on how to strengthen the alliance and face various challenges in the future.
"To be able to move forward and remain relevant, ASEAN must be brave enough to make decisions. And differences among members should not be an obstacle to our progress," she said.
Marsudi also said that the 43rd ASEAN Summit would also discuss the acceleration of decision-making in times of crisis, as well as cooperation on food security, energy, health, digital economy, and maritime.
The 43rd ASEAN Summit and related summits are scheduled to be held in Jakarta from Tuesday to Thursday, with Indonesia holding this year's ASEAN chairmanship.
Besides, the 26th ASEAN Plus Three Summit, the 18th East Asia Summit, and ASEAN's one-on-one summits with various countries and organizations including China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, the United Nations, and others, are also listed on the agenda.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.