Jakarta — President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila this week, where leaders of 10 Southeast Asian countries are expected to discuss regional connectivity and diplomacy, and address both regional and international challenges. This year marks the 30th year of the Summit, and also the association’s 50th anniversary. The summit will take place in Manila on April 26-April 29 since the Philippines is currently holds the ASEAN chairmanship. According to ASEAN cooperation director general Jose Tavares, Jokowi will attend meetings to discuss a variety of issues on Saturday (29/04). One of the topics for discussion is finding ways to increase economic, social and infrastructural connectivity in the region, and to improve sense of ownership among ASEAN residents. Another discussion will address regional diplomacy and thorny issue of ASEAN centralization. “The summit will discuss regional and international issues. Indonesia will get a chance to share its perspectives as we face an increasingly fluid world and uncertain geo-political and geo-economic situations,” Jose said during a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (25/04). Jose also said ASEAN leaders will likely touch on the problems of transnational crime, migrant workers, in South China Sea dispute and increasing tension in the Korean Peninsula during the summit. Demand on the ASEAN Secretariat to foster regional and interregional growth has risen in recent years, but funding for ASEAN remains relatively small at US$20 million annually. As a comparison, the European Union receives a funding of around US$140 billion in 2015 and between US$120-US$130 billion a year before. Under the Philippines’ chairmanship, ASEAN currently sets six priority areas: a people-oriented, a people-centered ASEAN, peace and stability in the region, and a maritime security and cooperation. Jokowi will also attend meetings during the summit with two sub-regional initiatives, the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP EAGA) and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT). The meetings, the scheduled for an hour each on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, will launch new visions and plans for both initiatives. BIMP-EAGA has already set a long term plan until the year 2025, while the IMT-GT will soon finalize a similar plan for 2036. Both will focus on building well-connected infrastructure and a resilient region capable of adopting sustainable development practices. According to ASEAN’s director cooperation for Asia Pacific and Africa, Benyamin Carnadi, the new visions will strengthen trade relations in the region. “Traditionally these countries have had trade relations for centuries, but we will further strengthen that, especially with infrastructure development in the sub-regions,” he said.