ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta
10 August 2015

Assalamulaikum Warrahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

Your Excellency Secretary-General of ASEAN, Le Luong Minh
Your Excellencies, Permanent Representatives to ASEAN
Ambassadors, Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Congratulations to ASEAN on its 48th Anniversary. For a person, at age 48 one is in the prime of life. As an organization ASEAN is beginning to mature. ASEAN has achieved much in its nearly half a century of existence of which we can all be proud.

ASEAN has transformed the formerly unstable and divided South East Asian region to a peaceful and stable region. This is a remarkable achievement, particularly if compared to many other regions in the world.

ASEAN has contributed to the dynamic economic development of the member states; South East Asia is an integral part of the development of 21st century as an Asian Century.

ASEAN’s strategic role as the primary driver of regional architecture has been recognized by the major regional powers.

ASEAN has achieved international recognition, with more and more states and institutions wanting to become dialogue partners of ASEAN.

The peoples of South East Asia are now committed to form an ASEAN Community comprising of 3 Pillars: Economic, Political and Security, Social and Cultural.

However, we must not be complacent and easily satisfied. The region faces many challenges and ASEAN is still very much a work in progress. Internally there are still many unresolved disputes among ASEAN states.
Externally we are surrounded by competing major powers which can pull ASEAN countries in different directions.

The territorial disputes in the South China presents a serious security threat to regional maritime security if not managed carefully. Despite the dynamic regional economic growth there are still great imbalances in our economic development, between countries and within countries

Institutionally ASEAN is still fairly weak, with limited resources and capacity.

The starting point of the ASEAN Community at the end of this year must be used by everyone concerned to embark on the next phase of ASEAN development as a mature Regional Organisation. Towards this end ASEAN must:

Strengthen regional cohesion and unity—ASEAN states must not allow unresolved bilateral disputes to mar regional harmony.

Preserve the Strategic Autonomy of the South East Asian region -ASEAN countries must be skillful in managing our relations with the major powers, engaging with all but not allowing anyone external powers to dictate us.

Accelerate regional economic integration, based on growth with equity and justice, paying equal attention to land-based and maritime development.

Enhance ASEAN institutional capacity, including intellectual and organizational capacities, both for managing intra-ASEAN affairs and to secure its role as the driver in building regional architecture.

Be persistent in ensuring that potential regional conflicts, such as in the South China Sea, are managed and resolved peacefully through dialogues and cooperation. ASEAN must be firm in pushing forth the wide acceptance of binding regional codes of conduct that prohibit the uses of force to settle disputes.

ASEAN remains the cornerstone of Indonesian foreign policy and Indonesia will continue to do its utmost to support the development of ASEAN. Indonesia is particularly committed to realize an ASEAN that is people-driven, people-centred and people-oriented. The full participation of the wider ASEAN public, including businesses and civil societies, is critical to realizing the ASEAN Community.

The Indonesian Government and the Provincial Government of the Special Region of Jakarta would like to assert its commitment to make Jakarta as the diplomatic capital of the region.

As part of its support to strengthen ASEAN’s institutional capacity Indonesia is fully committed to provide the extension of the ASEAN Secretariat premise. Today we will witness the officiating expansion of the ASEAN Secretariat New Premises.

A professional and efficient secretariat is critical to the success of ASEAN operations. I would like to pay tribute to the Secretary General and dedicated staff of the ASEAN Secretariat for your diligence and hard work in helping to build the ASEAN Community.

From past experiences we know that ASEAN thrives on Challenges. As ASEAN marks its 48th Anniversary we look to the future with confidence.

Thank you.
Wassalamualaikum Warrahmatullahi Wabarakatuh