ASEAN Summit Begins
Quite a centerpiece worthy of the seminal occasion that kicks off a week of diplomatic events: ASEAN Summit, 26th China-ASEAN Summit, the 26th ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit, all occurring in Indonesia. Although Biden, Putin and Xi won’t be attending, the delegations will have plenty to do. Nevertheless, Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s opening remarks suggest he and others are aware of attempts to disrupt the proceedings. Here’s how Global Times framed his words:
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in his opening remarks at the ASEAN Summit on Tuesday, called on the group to devise a "long-term tactical strategy that is relevant and meets people's expectations," Reuters reported.
"ASEAN has agreed to not be a proxy to any powers. Don't turn our ship into an arena for rivalry that is destructive," Widodo said.
The president urged regional leaders to ensure the ship keeps moving and sailing, saying that "We must become its captain to achieve peace, stability, and prosperity together."
Unsaid initially was the danger they need to navigate, but later in the article we read:
When Indonesia seeks to accelerate the discussion on a "code of conduct" on the South China Sea under its chairmanship of ASEAN, the Philippines is seen as creating hurdles to the goal.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, when addressing the Global Town Hall 2023 [event 8] on Saturday, said "Attempts by certain forces outside the region to undermine peace in the South China Sea will not succeed, and the evil claws behind the scenes must be uncovered."
ASEAN unity, centrality and integration will serve the maximum and long-term interests of all members, therefore certain countries should not be misled by non-regional forces that are hijacking and hindering the ASEAN agenda due to external instigation, Li Haidong warned.
One might ask why those “non-regional forces that are hijacking and hindering the ASEAN agenda” are invited to do just that. The reality is most ASEAN members agree on most everything as consensus rules and differ on only a few really non-essential points of issue that are outside the realm of economic relations. And those few differences are what the Outlaw US Empire is keen to use to sow discord.
The Global Times editor attempts to further explain:
We believe that the Biden administration by no means intends to neglect Indonesia and ASEAN. On the contrary, it actually "takes them seriously"; but the real reason for attaching importance to Indonesia and ASEAN is not above board, and it is not consistent with ASEAN's actual interests and wishes, or even runs counter to them. Washington's lack of interest in the ASEAN Summit's focus on economic and trade cooperation is unequivocal.
Even if Biden attends the summit, it is conceivable that what he brings to the summit will be repeated geopolitical and security rhetoric, such as the so-called "freedom of navigation in the South China Sea" or "disputes over islands and reefs in the South China Sea." It will cause division on multilateral occasions and sow dissension, which is incompatible with the atmosphere of unity and cooperation at the summit. If these words are to be uttered by Harris, the negative impact may be relatively small. Therefore, Biden's absence is not a pity, even less of a loss for the ASEAN summit.
Why did Biden choose Vietnam over Indonesia? There are reasons. Since Washington did not do a good job in roping in ASEAN, it started to "split" it from within ASEAN. Additionally, Biden and Harris have been circling around China for the past year, so their intentions are quite obvious. It is easier for the US to pursue unilateral actions in bilateral settings than in multilateral platforms. But for ASEAN member countries that have been targeted by the US, it is necessary to keep an extra eye on the situation….
Every ASEAN meeting is essentially a testing ground for true and false multilateralism. It is not difficult to distinguish between those who come with genuine cooperation and win-win intentions and those who come with firewood and gasoline. ASEAN countries are well aware of this. [My Emphasis]
As we go deeper into the week more info and articles dealing with all the diplomatic events ought to be forthcoming. Meanwhile, it appears Russia has decided to make NATO pay attention to the new BRICS+ alignment and its mastery over the majority of energy exportation as it announced it “will extend its voluntary cut in oil exports by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced on Tuesday.” That caused Brent to break $90/bbl which is well beyond the EU/NATO price cap.
And in G-20 Summit related news, the following is being reported:
The EU intends to endorse the African Union’s bid to become a permanent member of the G20 at the group’s upcoming summit in New Delhi, people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping both announcing that they’re going to skip the event in New Delhi next week, Brussels is looking “to seize the moment... to show that it is serious about redefining its partnership with Africa, despite the troubled legacy of colonialism,” the news outlet claimed in a report on Tuesday. [Emphasis original]
It’s seriously debatable that the EU can overcome the offers provided by Russia and China to African nations and the African Union, which both Russia and China have already said ought to be in the G-20. To date, the EU and its Master the Outlaw US Empire have made several trillion dollars worth of promises related to development and climate mitigation and delivered only pennies in reality. I again cite this Oxfam PR from May 2023 headlining “G7 owes $13 trillion to the Global South,” which is the sort of duplicity the EU hopes to overcome.
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