UNAIR NEWS – To commemorate National Awakening Day, May 20, 2020, International Relations (HI) UNAIR in collaboration with the Wellington Embassy held Indonesia-Pacific Relations discussion. The discussion, “Rebonding with Our Pacific Neighbors” invited Tantowi Yahya as Indonesian Ambassador to the Pacific and Dra. Baiq Wardhani, MA Ph.D. as a lecturer of International Relations UNAIR.
The discussion, attended by hundreds of students and academics through the zoom app, wanted to remind Indonesia that the Pacific is Indonesia’s distant relative, which is actually central to the practice of foreign policy. “Our government has long forgotten the Pacific. As seen in the GBHN, the Pacific ranks second in the concentric circle of Indonesia’s foreign policy priorities. In fact, the Pacific is also the closest region with Indonesia beside Southeast Asia. Furthermore, our government was too economic-based in building regional relations. The Pacific is like a backyard we must protect for national security. ” said Dra. Ani.
Meanwhile, Tantowi Yahya said that Eastern Indonesia has a very strong relationship and history with the Pacific. This is evidenced by the similarity of culture and race in the Eastern Indonesian community with the Pacific community. Therefore, during the administration of President Joko Widodo, Indonesia began to strengthen relations with the Pacific.
“The government’s concern for the Pacific was first demonstrated by the appointment of the Pacific Ambassador. The job is to penetrate the region, then establish communication with 20 Pacific countries in order to create a higher understanding, “said the ambassador who is also a country singer.
On the other hand, the next method used by the Indonesian government to approach the Pacific is through soft diplomacy. The strategy was taken because the Pacific community is more concerned with feeling above all else.
“If we engage in diplomacy with the Pacific, it will not work if we only use political and legal language. So last year we held a big music festival in the Pacific. We collaborate with eastern Indonesian musicians with Australian and Maori musicians. The result was impressive because they found out that Indonesia had a culture similar to them. Hence, the role of cultural recognition is very important. ” said Tantowi.
Indonesia’s second strategy is to open markets. Although deemed as late start with other major countries such as Japan, the United States, and China, but the invitation of Indonesian partnerships was very welcomed by the Pacific countries.
“Other countries mostly exert influence in the Pacific through economic assistance. However, we realize that the Pacific does not only need money but also markets. That’s why Indonesia plays uniquely. We offer markets for Pacific products that have been difficult to find export markets because they are far from other regions. We also hold trade and investment exhibitions where visitors and turnover are truly extraordinary. This strategy does not make other big countries feel the competition. In fact, we are like complementing each other. ” he said.
Through this diplomacy strategy, Tantowi revealed that now Indonesia is known better and Indonesia’s efforts to establish closer relations with the Pacific have strengthened. “Therefore, this is the time to know more about our distant relatives.” he concluded. (*)
Author: Intang Arifia NH Editor: Feri Fenoria