ASEAN need devise strategy to confront US-China rivalry

id ASEAN Outlook,ASEAN 2023,Rivalitas China-AS

ASEAN need devise strategy to confront US-China rivalry

Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Dr. Rizal Sukma at a webinar in Jakarta on April 7, 2022. (ANTARA/Katriana)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must devise a strategy to address the rivalry between the United States and China, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Rizal Sukma said on Monday.

President Joko Widodo has repeatedly stated that ASEAN does not want to be a proxy for any country. On May 7, 2023, he said that Indonesia's principle during its ASEAN chairmanship is collaboration and cooperation with countries. Speaking at a discussion in Jakarta, Sukma said he felt that the statement is not enough because it is not a policy nor a strategy for addressing the rivalry between the great powers in the region.

"We keep saying that we hope we don’t have to choose (between the great powers), but it's not policy nor strategy. It's a hope. We need to come up with a real strategy, either say hedging, balancing, or bandwagoning," he added.

"Non-aligned, yes, but it's another form of hedging, and ASEAN has not gone into that territory yet," said this former Indonesian ambassador to the United Kingdom. In the context of global politics, hedging is a strategy that involves avoiding alliances with big powers, while balancing is a strategy that involves forming alliances with other countries to deal with great powers that have become a threat. Meanwhile, bandwagoning is a strategy that involves allying with a stronger country to get protection and security.

In 2019, leaders of the ASEAN member states agreed to adopt the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which is an affirmation of the regional organization's position in maintaining peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

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However, the AOIP does not address the rivalry between the US and China, which is becoming increasingly evident in the region. AOIP, which was initiated by Indonesia, prioritizes an open and inclusive approach to dialogue and cooperation instead of competition and rivalry. It emphasizes that ASEAN will not take sides with any big country and will maintain peace in the region.