While trying to lead ASEAN to achieve its goal of becoming a community by 2015, Indonesia highlighted its agenda for the 10-member group in the post-2015 period as Southeast Asia’s largest economy chairs the group this year.
Indonesia proposed that this year the ASEAN Community should start playing a role on the global stage by tackling global issues such as climate change, development and conflict and security problems so that after 2015 the group would have a common platform to deal with those global issues.
“We must be outward looking, not self-absorbed,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told The Jakarta Post.
“We should begin drafting a road map this year so that in 10 years we have a common platform on global issues, not a common foreign policy as ASEAN is not a supranational organization.”
Apart from playing a greater role in world affairs, Marty said Indonesia’s main task was to guide the group to reach the goal of becoming a community by 2015 while giving substance to ongoing regional architecture building — in this case East Asia and the Pacific.
“Our main basic responsibility is to ensure that during the course of 2011 we continue to make progress to achieve ASEAN’s goal of becoming a community by 2015,” he said.
ASEAN leaders agreed that the community would be built on three main pillars — economic, political and security and sociocultural — to ensure people in ASEAN countries could coexist in a single community.
Marty said that apart from building on developments so far, Indonesia would also propose areas within the three pillars that had not benefited from strong efforts until now.
“For example, how we address maritime issues in our region. We are concerned as maritime issues have become problematic, involving navies and fishing vessels, not only from ASEAN but also from Northeast Asian countries,” he said.
Marty said the seas should a unifying factor for the region.
“We will be keen to develop a maritime forum, discussing how we deal with such incidents, the rules of engagement and standard operating procedures. We don’t want unintended incidents spiraling out of control,” he said.
Analysts warned that Indonesia’s chairmanship would be challenged by problems faced by member countries, and that it had been pushed to balance its position between the US and China, both looking to make the region their sphere of influence.
Border disputes among member countries and outsiders, notably China in the South China Sea, will test Indonesia’s leadership. For instance, if it mediated in the South China Sea dispute between China and six ASEAN countries, Indonesia as a non-claimant state to the territory is expected to show impartiality.
Marty said that under Indonesia’s chairmanship, dialogue between ASEAN and China in the South China Sea dispute would continue, with the hope that all parties could develop codes of conduct on how to settle the problem of claims to the area.