Monday, October 2, 2023

Indonesia Passes ASEAN Chairmanship Baton to Laos

Jayanty Nada Shofa
September 7, 2023 | 7:57 pm
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo gives a gavel to Laos
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo gives a gavel to Laos's Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone in a symbolic handover of the ASEAN chairmanship in Jakarta on September 7, 2023. (Antara Photo/2023 ASEAN Media Center)

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday handed over the gavel that marks the group’s chairmanship to Laotian Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone as Jakarta wrapped up the 43rd ASEAN Summit. 

For the past nine months, Indonesia has been leading the Southeast Asian bloc under the theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. Creating a peaceful Indo-Pacific -- a region that stretches from the Pacific coastline to the Indian Ocean -- was also high on the agenda for Indonesia. In his final remarks, Jokowi called for a peaceful and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

“It will help pave the way for ASEAN towards a better future for its people and the world. This is what Indonesia as chair is trying to build, to make ASEAN matter and an epicentrum of growth,” Jokowi said at the summit’s closing ceremony.

But Jokowi warned the attending leaders that the job was far from being done.


“It is impossible to finish what ASEAN has to do in just one chairmanship. We will continue to face a myriad of dynamics, complexities, and global challenges,” Jokowi said. 

“Let us have each other’s back as we navigate these challenges and turn them into opportunities, rivalries into collaboration, exclusivity into inclusivity, and navigating differences into unity. We must be the captain of our own ship. And now we pass the baton to Laos,” Jokowi said.

Laos will chair ASEAN next year before it passes the torch to Malaysia in 2025. The Philippines will assume the 2026 ASEAN chairmanship in lieu of the crisis-hit Myanmar. 

According to an ASEAN leaders’ review on the five-point peace plan for Myanmar released on Tuesday, the chairmanship rotation –after the Philippines– will follow an alphabetical order until a different decision is made. Despite the symbolic handover, Indonesia will still undertake chairmanship duties until Laos officially takes over early next year.

Read More: Philippines to Chair ASEAN in 2026 in Lieu of Myanmar

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