Indonesia hosts ASEAN defence chiefs amid regional and global tensions

2023 11 16T070544Z 1114543864 RC26E4AI5V46 RTRMADP 3 ASEAN DEFENCE HANDOVER 1 scaled
Indonesia's Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto passes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) sign to Laos' Defense Minister Chansamone Chanyalath, during the handover ceremony of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 16, 2023. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Indonesia is hosting a gathering of Southeast Asian defence ministers this week, along with key players in the Indo-Pacific region. The ASEAN bloc aims to emphasize its centrality amidst the ongoing global crises. The meeting, starting on Wednesday, coincides with conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

The forum is crucial as major powers vie for influence in the region. Indonesia’s defence minister and presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, stressed the importance of non-alignment, expressing concerns about the escalating rivalry between the U.S. and China. “Competition is good. But competition should not deteriorate into a zero-sum game,” Prabowo, said ahead of the defence ministers’ meeting.

For years, Washington and Beijing have sought the favor of ASEAN, a region comprising approximately 660 million people with a collective gross domestic product surpassing $3.2 trillion. However, the intense rivalry between the two major powers has raised concerns among ASEAN members.

Prabowo received ASEAN’s defence ministers and passed the ASEAN baton over to Laos’ Defence Minister Chansamone Chanyalath during a handover ceremony of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The discussions will expand on Thursday to include Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand, and Australia and are expected to cover a range of issues, including the situation in Gaza, Ukraine, and China’s actions in the South China Sea.


More from Qonversations

Global Affairs

1379e947 b1d3 4243 a1af 1de7263c41ab

What is xylazine and why is it causing global mayhem?


Hajia2Reall Socialite

Ghanaian socialite pleads guilty to romance scam in US court

Global Affairs


G20 ministers meet in Brazil to discuss conflicts, global governance


The 10 most compelling rivalry sports teams in the world

Front of mind
Screenshot 2024 02 09 at 10.47.42

How to win elections in Africa – Chike Ukaegbu

Ismail Akwei

Presidential elections in Africa have gone through many cycles since the 1950s when Ghana became the first country […]

Read more
Screenshot 2024 01 21 at 07.33.15 scaled

How China can help revive agribusiness in the Caribbean

Eleanor Sa-Carneiro

Against the backdrop of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago’s Fine Cocoa Company is setting sail into the waters […]

Read more