How the ASEAN summit went


The 43rd summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations took place in Jakarta, Indonesia. Several agreements were signed inside and outside the group

Editorial by Lorenzo Lamperti

Still united despite differences. Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia and host of the 43rd ASEAN summit, called the bloc of Southeast Asian countries this. A bloc not in the geopolitical sense of the term, since ASEAN more than any other promotes a third way made up of not competition but, if anything, cooperation. Inside and outside the Association, as shown by the results achieved during the summit held in recent days in Jakarta. At least 93 projects, with a total value of $38.2 billion, were identified at the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum, a platform for the bloc's members to mobilize public and private financing and promote deeper economic cooperation. They included industrial, infrastructure and energy transition plans. Another 73 potential opportunities worth $17.8 billion were also discussed. Adopted statements on gender equality, sustainability, agricultural cooperation, food security and climate change. In addition, during the ASEAN +3 meeting, which in addition to the Southeastern countries also includes China, Japan, and South Korea, it was agreed to work together to develop an electric vehicle ecosystem. A crucial issue for economic and technological development in the near future, with an eye on sustainability. And, above all, an area in which Southeast Asia looks set to play a leading role. That's not all. With Beijing, in the presence of Premier Li Qiang, a joint ASEAN-China statement on mutually beneficial cooperation in the Indo-Pacific was issued. With Beijing, the renewal of the free trade agreement by 2024 and major new investments on the strategic microchip sector are also discussed. Interesting results on the bilateral level as well. The Philippines signed a free trade agreement with South Korea, while Indonesia asked the United States to start talks on a trade agreement on mineral resources. On the diplomatic front, Australia has announced that it will host ASEAN leaders in Melbourne next March for a special summit to mark 50 years of relations. In the background, but not overly so, the Myanmar crisis remains unresolved, on which the 2021 5-point consensus review has been prepared. Tensions over the South China Sea also remain, partly because of the competition between China and the United States. Competition in which, as Widodo reiterated in his closing remarks, ASEAN plays a role as a "theater of peace and inclusion."

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