Indonesia Strengthens Relations with Pacific Countries, ULMWP Starts Worried

According to the geographical location of Indonesia flanked by both oceans and two continents is the waters that became one of the international trade routes. This position places Indonesia bordering the sea and land directly. This situation makes Indonesia vulnerable to border disputes and security threats that cause instability in the country and its strategic interests with Pacific countries.

The Government of Indonesia plans to further strengthen the cooperation relationship with countries in the Pacific as a form of strengthening the relationship specifically in the field of Economic, Social and Culture.

Of course, it is done in maintaining relationships with countries in the Pacific region by being a dialogue partner in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). PIF has 16 member states including Australia, Cook Islands, Federate States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Joining Indonesia with PIF is not without purpose. Indonesia's objectives include
(1) the participation of Indonesia in the PIF is part of efforts to reposition the foreign policy of the Republic of Indonesia, which has put more emphasis on ASEAN and Western countries, to look east policy
(2) the presence of Indonesia in PFD, is part of an effort to engage with countries in the Pacific region
(3) the participation of Indonesia as a PIF dialogue partner can be utilized to enhance Indonesia's image internationally as well as be used to garner support for Indonesia in international forums

According to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, Indonesia will strengthen its cooperation relationship with Pacific countries.

"We (the Indonesian government) have never developed an integrated program on the handling of countries in the South Pacific such as Vanuatu, Solomon and Fiji," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said at the Presidential Palace here on Monday (22/2 ).

Indonesia's policy on the South Pacific countries, according to Luhut, is still scattered. Therefore, the Indonesian government will unite the handling of the South Pacific under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The ambassadors have provided input to us (GoI) .These will be more integrated who will do what," said Luhut who prior to the Palace attended the coordination meeting on the development of issues of the South Pacific region at the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

In addition, the government will also strengthen its relationship in relation to the Political Issues that have recently addressed the issue of Papua, which as a major information was raised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) issue of human rights violations Papua which until now is a public lie. As well as ward off the issue has been the establishment of UMLWP office based in Wamena.

Given the closeness of cooperation with Pacific countries, it shows the Pacific's strategic position for Indonesia. In Indonesia's foreign relations there are several interests to be achieved such as the settlement of the boundary negotiations of Indonesia, the protection of Indonesian Citizens (WNI), the settlement of Papua issues, the enhancement of economic cooperation, and the improvement of social-cultural relations. So it takes help from Pacific countries that have proximity of territory to achieve it.

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