ASEAN to discuss China’s “standard map” row at upcoming summit
5 September, 2023 | Srishti Ruchandani
This year the ASEAN Summit will be chaired by Indonesia under the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.
As Indonesia is set to chair the ASEAN-India Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS) on September 6-7, Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, said that issues of “mutual concern” will come up for discussion, but it can’t be specified which issues will come up. He was speaking on the possibility of any discussion over the so-called “standard map” issued by China during the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia.
This year the ASEAN Summit will be chaired by Indonesia under the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth. This theme indicates that Indonesia expects the ASEAN to be relevant and significant as the center of economic growth.
Saurabh Kumar was addressing a special briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indonesia for the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit. “It is difficult to anticipate what would be discussed when the leaders meet, but issues which are of mutual concern–regional and international will come up once they have the discussion…Whether there would be consensus or not, can’t anticipate what would come out of the discussions. We cannot reveal any specific term,” he said while addressing the special briefing.
“This year Indonesia is the chair of ASEAN and their theme is ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth. Within this framework, Indonesia organised a flagship event ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum to implement the ASEAN outlook. This is an event that is focused on increasing the connectivity of ASEAN to the Indo-Pacific by involvement of businesses & industries,” he added.
Notably, China released the 2023 edition of its so-called “standard map” on August 28, incorporating the country’s claims over the nine-dash line, thereby laying claim to a large part of the South China Sea.
This development drew sharp reactions from several neighbors. India registered a “strong protest” against Beijing and said they had no basis to claim India’s territory. Later, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Nepal opposed the so-called “standard map”.
The Secretary East also informed that PM Modi’s visit to Indonesia would be a small one as he also has to host the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi.
“It is a very short visit, as the Prime Minister is hosting the G20, and the effort is to participate in this important summit and get back home as quickly as possible because the Prime Minister is the host for G20. So, there would not be any bilaterals during the course of the visit,” Kumar said.
He further thanked the Indonesian side for making certain adjustments to the ASEAN schedule, to facilitate PM Modi in coming back to India early.
“Both the summits are being organized on the 7th so that PM Modi should return early. The Indonesian side was kind enough to advance the East Asia Summit timing a little bit from afternoon to forenoon so that the Prime Minister could come back early. The ASEAN-India Summit will take place from 9-10 a.m. This will be followed by a 15-minute break and then the East Asia Summit will take place,” the Secretary East added.
Notably, PM Modi will travel to Indonesia for a two-day visit to attend the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) on September 6-7, the External Affairs Ministry said on Saturday.
PM Modi will be in Jakarta at the invitation of the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.
The forthcoming ASEAN-India Summit will be the first Summit since the elevation of ties between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations bloc of countries to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2022.
The foreign ministry said that the Summit will review the progress of India-ASEAN relations and chart the future direction of cooperation.
According to a statement, the East Asia Summit would provide an opportunity for leaders of ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partners, including India, to exchange views on issues of regional and global significance.