ASEAN center of global diplomacy

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From the bloc's summit in Cambodia to the G20 summits in Indonesia and APEC in Thailand. With elections in Malaysia in the background. Busy agenda with Southeast Asia at the center

Editorial by Alessio Piazza

When we say that ASEAN and Southeast Asia are at the center of the world, never will it be more clearly demonstrated than in these weeks. This is a November in which not only regional leaders but those from around the world are meeting in the area. Among Phnom Penh, Jakarta and Bangkok there is a rapid and crucial succession of appointments and summits that may outline diplomatic scenarios of global importance. At a time when the world is watching with apprehension the war in Ukraine and tensions in East Asia, as well as rising inflation and intensifying competition between powers, Southeast Asia can become the platform from which to start with more comforting prospects for the future. The busy schedule of events includes meetings within ASEAN, including the East Asia Summit scheduled for Nov. 8-13 in Phnom Penh, with Cambodia holding a rotating chairmanship that will pass to Indonesia in 2023. It is precisely in Indonesia, in Bali to be exact, that the G20 summit takes place on November 15 and 16. Just two days later, however, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum will open its doors in Bangkok on Nov. 18 and 19. These meetings will attract leaders from the United States, China, Japan, Russia, India and many other regionally and globally important countries. Italy included. It is rare that so many international fora of this level are scheduled in the same month in the same region. There is great anticipation for the possible bilateral between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20. While the G20 and APEC meetings will focus on economic cooperation, the ASEAN summits will also deal with politics and security, namely Ukraine and tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Indonesian President Joko Widodo also aims to achieve results on soaring energy and food prices, which are hampering global economic recovery after the halt caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Key word: multilateralism. ASEAN and Southeast Asia can become the driving force behind not only economic but also diplomatic restart.

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