East Asia Summit Ideal Forum to Discuss Indo-Pacific Concept: Foreign Ministry

Leaders gather for the 12th East Asia Summit in Manila in November last year. (Reuters Photo/Bullit Marquez)

By : Sheany | on 1:42 PM July 29, 2018
Category : News, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. The East Asia Summit remains the ideal platform to discuss the development of an Indo-Pacific geopolitical framework, an Indonesian Foreign Ministry official said, drawing attention to the country's "convening power" to achieve effective cooperation in this regard.

"At the East Asia Summit, we have an opportunity to discuss strategic issues at a regional level, which is what the Indo-Pacific [concept] is. [In addition,] this is why the EAS was established in the first place – for dialogue," Siswo Pramono, head of policy analysis and development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters in Jakarta on Friday (27/07).

Indonesia has been vocal about its desire to develop an Indo-Pacific geopolitical framework as part of its foreign policy priorities this year.

However, the country is not alone in this endeavor, as many others have also oriented their foreign policies towards the Indo-Pacific cooperation concept.

Australia, Japan and the United States have included the concept in their respective foreign policy strategies, each proposing diverse ideas of what should be taken into account.

Indonesia has put forth the idea that the Indo-Pacific concept should be developed through a mechanism led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, because of its geographical scope and the regional bloc's investment in connectivity.

The East Asia Summit – an Asean initiative – is an annual forum attended by the leaders of 18 countries, including the United States, India and China. The first summit too place in Kuala Lumpur in 2005, while the next will be hosted by Singapore in November.

"When we all meet at the East Asia Summit to discuss and negotiate [the Indo-Pacific concept], maybe we can reach a point of convergence in our differing interests," Siswo said.

He also elaborated on what he refers to as Indonesia's "convening powers," emphasizing that by fostering cooperation, the country can assist the region in achieving peace and stability.

"We want to use the Indo-Pacific peacefully, for the purpose of cooperation. That is our principle," Siswo said.

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