In his speech at the closing session, Indonesian President Joko Widodo called on ASEAN countries to develop the Indo-Pacific region into a "theater of peace and inclusiveness."

A performance at the closing ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and related summits

President Joko Widodo said that it will serve as an important foundation, opening a better future for the people of ASEAN and the world.

The Indonesian leader emphasised that it is also the spirit of the 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship that Indonesia undertakes, with the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth."

The Indonesian President said ASEAN's big duties will not finish in only one chairmanship. ASEAN will continue to face the complexity of global challenges.

Therefore, he called on ASEAN countries to hand in hand navigate the challenges to be opportunities, navigate the rivalries to be collaborations, navigate exclusivity to be inclusivity, and navigate differences to be unity.

Indonesia handed the ASEAN chairmanship for 2024 to Laos at the closing ceremony.

For his part, Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said that Laos will continue promote achievements that ASEAN made during the year Indonesia chaired ASEAN.

He emphasised that, as the rotating Chair of ASEAN in 2024, Laos will focus on promoting connectivity, seeking cooperation opportunities, and solving challenges in a global changing geopolitical context.

The Lao PM affirmed that ASEAN needs to continue connecting to narrow the gap between member countries, promote dialogue, strengthen unity within the bloc, expand cooperation with partners as well as resolve differences to maintain peace, stability and development in the region.

Finally, the Lao leader pledged to cooperate in improving leadership capacity, strengthening unity to ensure peace, stability and development, promoting digital transformation and economic integration, and facilitating people-to-people exchanges and cooperation to combat climate change.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: VNA