The ASEAN Summit 2023, to be held in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, will take place on May 9-11, 2023. This meeting will discuss 10 important points called the Leaders' Declaration and 3 issues that have the potential to be included in the Declaration of the 42nd ASEAN Summit in 2023, one of which is the discussion of Timor-Leste's full membership.
Earlier, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Taur Matan Ruak, agreed to attend the 42nd ASEAN Summit in 2023 with observer status. This will be the first time that Timor-Leste will attend the ASEAN Summit. Because at the previous ASEAN Summit held in Phnom Penh in November 2022, Timor-Leste did not join it. However, there is already a principle that it has been agreed that Timor-Leste will become the 11th member of ASEAN.
In the opening of the 42nd ASEAN Summit in 2023 on Wednesday (10/5) yesterday, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste said that this is a new chapter in the history of Timor-Leste that will have a positive impact on various sectors, both economic and social.
On the other hand, the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Timor-Leste (ACC-WGTL) is still discussing how to improve the roadmap for Timor-Leste's full membership. This is because there are still several things that Timor-Leste needs to fulfill, such as the establishment of a diplomatic mission to ASEAN, as well as adjustments to national regulations related to ASEAN treaties and documents. However, it is hoped that Timor-Leste will soon be able to meet the criteria that will be set tomorrow, so that it can then become a full member of ASEAN.
Nevertheless, Timor-Leste's participation in the ASEAN Summit this time may indicate that Timor-Leste no longer faces significant obstacles to joining ASEAN. Only a few procedural requirements remain to be implemented.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Republic Indonesia. (2023). Press Release: Indonesian President to Announce Declaration of the 42nd ASEAN Summit 2023. kemlu.go.id
Communications and Media Team of The 2023 ASEAN Summit. (2023). Press Release ASEAN Summit 2023: Indonesia Supports Timor-Leste’s Membership in ASEAN. kemenparekraf.go.id
Ministry of Communication and Informatics. (2023). Timor-Leste PM Expresses Gratitude for Indonesia’s Support. asean2023.id