ASEAN unites in claiming centrality in Indo-Pacific region

ASEAN has reaffirmed its central role in the vast Indo-Pacific region when its leaders endorsed at their summit in Bangkok in June their common vision of how they want the emerging region to develop under constantly changing power balances.

What is most impressive about the five-page ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific document is the speed at which the text was endorsed by all 10 member countries. It took less than one year and a half from the time of Indonesia’s announcement to push for a common ASEAN vision and 10 months from the time Indonesia submitted the concept paper and distributed it to members at the ASEAN foreign ministerial meeting in Singapore in August.

That success defies the notoriously slow ASEAN diplomacy, where all decisions must be by consensus. Many ASEAN initiatives in the past were bogged down by dissent from just one member. How Indonesia pulled it off and circumvented the “ASEAN Way” merits a doctoral research study. Read More

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