Jokowi heading to Australia for special summit

Jokowi heading to Australia for special summit

Troy Powers
March 17, 2018

Australia must avoid a "dance with dictators" when it hosts Asean leaders at a special summit this week, and should make human rights a prominent issue, campaigners said. As a result, member states are being forced to coordinate internally on significant policy matters regarding North Korea, China's maritime claims and a distracted US.

Australia is hosting the special ASEAN meeting despite not being a member of the bloc, reflecting the country's objective of deepening political and trade ties in the region in the face of rising Chinese influence and apparent declining United States interest.

Australia's trade with ASEAN countries last financial year was worth more than $100 billion. The forum will likely see a shift in strategic and defence planning considering recent U.S. indifference to the Indo-Pacific and increasingly aggressive territorial moves by China.

"Protectionism is a dead end". "We must face the world, not turn from it. Embrace free trade, not retreat from it, and do so on the basis of strong and transparent rules, fair and open competition and non-discriminatory legislation".

He noted that the increased economic might of China and India has reconfigured strategic relations in the region, adding that "how other countries can accommodate legitimate interests of the new powers will significantly impact regional peace and stability".

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she will raise human rights concerns with Myanmar and Cambodian leaders.

China claims most of the South China Sea, an important trade route and which is believed to contain large quantities of oil and natural gas, and has been building artificial islands on reefs, some with ports and air strips, developments that have irked Asean members.

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"It is the need for small and middle powers to canoe together and that is, to some extent, the rise of both China and India along with a trade- aggressive U.S., still unfolding", Mr Fischer said.

NSW has a long history of engagement with ASEAN countries.

Indonesia is focusing on three areas, notably the Sulu Sea, the Malacca Strait and the seas around the coast of Thailand, Ryacudu said, referring to existing cooperation with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has, however, come under criticism for inviting some controversial regional leaders to his hometown, including Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. One way to do this, PM Lee said, is to involve Australia in the Smart City network that Singapore is spearheading across Asean.

Crimes verging on genocide were being committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, and those crimes bore "the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the global community", the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide said on Tuesday. "I can use violence against you", he said.

Asked about the threat, Bishop said Australia was "certainly going to raise our concerns with the Cambodian delegation".