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18th Lecture - Building Regional Architecture with Prof. Tsutomu Kikuchi

Date: Friday, 17 March 2023

Time: 13.00 - 14.30 GMT+7

Platform: Zoom Meetings & YouTube Livestream

Speaker: Prof. Tsutomu Kikuchi, Emeritus Professor of Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan

Moderator: Dr. Benjamin Barton from University of Nottingham, Malaysia

ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)

For many years, ASEAN countries have been quite reluctant to accept the concept of Indo-Pacific. But, gradually, the ASEAN countries are adjusting themselves to the new concept. Behind this change of attitude by ASEAN countries are the other external powers like Japan, US, India, and even European countries like France, UK, Germany, and other European communities who adopted the so-called Indo-Pacific strategies. ASEAN then tries to introduce their own concept of Indo-Pacific through ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP). The most prominent characteristic of AOIP is that ASEAN tried to change the narrative of Indo-Pacific as a “concept of cooperation” and not as a competition or conflict. The scope of cooperation itself includes maritime cooperation, economic development, and connectivity.

The Indo-Pacific as a Playground for an Inclusive and Pluralistic Regional Order

The Indo-Pacific is not just a battle ground by two powers, but a playground for other countries to play constructive roles to sustain and enhance the inclusive and pluralistic regional order. Not only the big ones, the other middle and small-sized countries are not pawns at the mercy of power politics between the US and China, but they are capable of navigating the “Great Game” over the future of Asia.

ASEAN-QUAD Cooperation

ASEAN-QUAD cooperation is quite an important institution that has a major impact on the course of Indo-pacific international relations. There are a variety of factors, starting with the location. Southeast Asia is located between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. It is also the region of top economic growth and the countries in it have broader connections with theinternational community. By also enhancing cooperation with ASEAN, QUAD could enhance its own businesses as one of the key elements in emerging regional architecture of the region. QUAD is a group willing and able to establish a free and open rule-based order. For ASEAN diplomacy to work, a balance of power in the Indo-Pacific is essential.

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