Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Indonesia is planning to remind the Group of 77 at its upcoming Cuba summit to not become a proxy of major powers' rivalry – the same message that the Southeast Asian country had always told fellow members of ASEAN.
The Cuban capital of Havana is slated to host the G77 Plus China Summit on Sep. 15-16.
The G77 is a forum for developing nations in the United Nations (UN), and to date has 134 members, including Indonesia and close neighbor Malaysia. The group aims to promote the economic and development interests of the Global South.
China does not consider itself a G77 member, but the country says it has kept good relations with the group; hence the name of the summit. The G77 represents over 80 percent of the world's population and makes up two-thirds of the UN membership.
"Given its size, the G77 is an incredibly huge negotiating power. We will tell the G77 to stand together as one at the upcoming Cuba summit. We must not let the G77 be a proxy," Retno said in an exclusive interview with BTV on Tuesday.
"We have a huge asset and we need to be in control.... It's all over for us if we ever become a proxy," Retno said.
China will send its anti-graft watchdog chief Li Xi to attend the upcoming G77 talks. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to join the Cuba summit.
Indonesia has always warned ASEAN to not be a proxy for any country. ASEAN has also kept a neutral stance amidst the US-China tensions, with whom they have close economic ties.
"We always talk about wanting to have ASEAN in the driver's seat. What would the world say if ASEAN cannot be in control of the situation and become a proxy?" Retno said.
Earlier reports show that ASEAN's trade with the US has grown over threefold from $135 billion to $452 billion in 2000-2022. ASEAN-China trade also skyrocketed from $39 billion to $975 billion over the said period.