SYDNEY: Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants Australia to become a full member of ASEAN, signalling Friday he is keen on Canberra playing a bigger regional role in defence, trade and security matters.
His comments come with Australia hosting a special summit of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders in Sydney, as China increasingly flexes its muscle and the threat of violent extremism grows.
"I think it's a good idea," Widodo told the Sydney Morning Herald, referring to Australia joining ASEAN - the first time an Indonesian president has endorsed the concept.
"Because our region will be better, (for) stability, economic stability, and also political stability. Sure, it will be better."
Australia has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, since 1974.