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Jakarta Post

RI must unite ASEAN for central role in Indo-Pacific

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, January 8 2019   /  02:40 am

Indonesia faces increasing pressure to step up its efforts to unite ASEAN on the forthcoming establishment of an inclusive Indo-Pacific region, as concerns grow that the absence of a singular ASEAN voice would allow for more great-power contestation.

During a recent discussion hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), former Indonesian diplomat Wiryono Sastrohandoyo called on ASEAN to maintain one voice in facing today’s global challenges, so it may emerge as a central power in the Indo-Pacific region.

He argued that ASEAN’s voice was “scattered” and that it made the regional grouping look weak, as the diverging views of its member states would prevent it from emerging as a major power in the Indo-Pacific.

“ASEAN has to play a role but it is not in a position to play that role. Its centrality is only geographic — the power is no...