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(June 25, 2019) AOIP: A new Asean regional guide

 At the retreat on Sunday, Asean leaders hailed the Asean Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP), reiterating it is our own perspective and response to an unpredictable world and disruptive international environment. Echoing this sentiment, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told a press conference that the document is significant, as Asean now has a common approach on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region that will reinforce the Asean-centred regional architecture. That was the most important highlight of the two-day 34th Asean Summit.

Indeed, the Indo-Pacific strategies and visions proposed by the US, Japan, India and Australia prompted Asean members to get their thoughts and acts together to seize the opportunity and challenges by showing collective inspiration. Throughout its 52-year history, Asean has been able to survive because of its solidarity against the changing external environment. Therefore, Asean needs to stand on its own two feet, walking its own path to protect the grouping's interest. The AOPI represents the grouping's latest common effort to interface with all other Indo-Pacific initiatives and face a new world in which many emerging powers are competing for influence and turf in the most unpredictable ways.