Introducing the Indo-Pacific Concept, Indonesia Set the Tone at the East Asia Summit

Singapore, 4 August 2018: "Not to create a new mechanism or replace an existing one, but to enhance cooperation using the existing mechanisms," said the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, when conveying Indonesia's views on the Indo-Pacific concept at the 8th Ministerial meeting of East Asia Summit (EAS) at the Singapore Expo (4/8).

The Indonesian Foreign Minister added that the current geopolitical conditions of the world posed challenges to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Countries along the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean (Indo-Pacific region) are considered as potential to become new objects of attraction of the constellation of world power.

For Indonesia, this condition may affect the ASEAN's central role and relevance as an area that is the axis of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. For this reason, Indonesia considers it important for ASEAN to keep maintaining its central role and making the Indo-Pacific region as an open, transparent, inclusive and respectful to international law and cooperative area by using the EAS mechanism as the main platform. For this reason Indonesia is developing an outlook on the Indo-Pacific with these principles.

Before 10 ASEAN countries and 8 dialogue partners (Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, India, New Zealand, Russia and America), Foreign Minister Retno explained that the cooperation in maritime sector, connectivity and sustainable development constituting 3 starting points of cooperation which is promoted by Indonesia for the prosperous and peaceful Indo Pacific.

"Therefore, Indonesia considers necessary to develop economic cooperation based on common interests through the increase in maritime cooperation and connectivity as a driving factor," the Indonesian Foreign Minister continued.

Previously, the Indonesian Foreign Minister had several times conveyed the Indonesian concept regarding the Indo-Pacific on various occasions, but for the first time at this EAS ministerial meeting the outlook of the Indo-Pacific Indonesia was delivered comprehensively.

This Meeting of EAS Foreign Minister assessed that the Indo-Pacific Indonesia concept carried principles that could be accepted by all parties and prioritized ASEAN's centrality in order to get a lot of support from EAS participating countries.

The Indo-Pacific constitutes the region with the most dynamic economic growth in the world today, where EAS participating countries are part of the region. When combined, the economic size of the EAS participating countries (in terms of GDP – Purchasing Power Parity) reaches more than USD 65.8 trillion this year. In the next three years, it is estimated to reach USD 95.6 trillion. This is an ideal platform for economic cooperation. This is EAS's unique strength, incomparable by other regional groupings in our region ", added the Foreign Minister.

As an initial step in implementing this outlook, Indonesia and New Zealand are preparing the EAS Plastic Leaders' Statement on Combating Marine Plastic Debris to be approved at the EAS Summit in November in Singapore and asking EAS countries to support the implementation of "Our Ocean Conference" on 29-30 October 2018 in Bali. (Source: Directorate of External ASEAN Cooperation)