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Jakarta Post

Insight: Indonesia key to ASEAN centrality

  • John Lee

Sydney   /   Sat, February 16 2019   /  12:55 am

During the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney last March, then-Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull reiterated, “We believe in ASEAN centrality”. That repetition genuinely indicated where Australia stood, but desire cannot be taken to be destiny.

Over the past two years, the United States, Australia, Japan and India have reinstituted the meeting of the “Quad” albeit at the senior official level rather than ministers. Along with China, these four countries are the region’s naval powers. The Quad members are committed to the notion of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) despite differences with respect to what each country means by that term.

 As China is pushing to alter the regional strategic order, the non-ASEAN powers have moved to a countering mindset. The extent to which ASEAN remains central to the thinking of the Quad countries depends on ho...