JAKARTA — Indonesian President Joko Widodo warned against the looming threats from drug abuse and terrorism among ASEAN member countries on Friday, calling for cohesive measures to address those challenges, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), President Widodo reminded the importance to strengthen regional cooperation to address cross-border crime of drug trafficking.
“We must wage a war against drug abuse. We don’t want to see our youngsters lose their future from those illegal drugs. There is no other way except uniting to save ASEAN from narcotics and illegal drugs,” President Widodo said in the ASEAN Secretariat office.
Indonesia has taken harsh measures against drugs dealers, including death penalties.
Dozens of domestic and foreign drugs dealers have been executed over the past years, marred with condemnations from rights groups and diplomatic rows with countries where foreign drug dealers originated from.
The president also urged a rapid response to the increasing terrorism threat in the region.
“Threat from terrorism is apparently on the rise. Terrorists attacks in Marawi was a ‘wake-up call’ for us to immediately respond it. We must work together to combat terrorism,” he pointed out.
Indonesia initiated a trilateral meeting with Malaysia and the Philippines on June 22, followed by a sub-regional meeting held in North Sulawesi capital of Manado.
ASEAN was formed by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on Aug. 8, 1967. Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam joined the bloc later.
ASEAN is aimed at promoting economic growth, social development and peaceful dispute settlement among 625 million population in the region.