Conference of Indonesia and the United States (US) Maritime Cooperation

Figure 1. Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro in the middle of explaining maritime cooperation between Indonesia and US.

The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington DC, collaborated with the East-West Center, on November 30, 2018, held a conference in maritime cooperation between Indonesia and US. The conference was held at Jefferson Hall, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, the United States with the topic of “Developing Indonesia – the United States Maritime Cooperation: Opportunities and Challenges”. It aims to strengthen the cooperation between Indonesia and the United States, especially in the maritime sector. Additionally, the conference also discussed the Indo – Pacific concept.

For the conference opening ceremony, a groundbreaking of Indonesia Garden was arranged by planting Indonesian trees in the area. Representing both parties were Mr. Budi Bowoleksono as the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States and Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke as the President of the East-West Center. The ceremony was accompanied by Batak dance as the representation of the North Sumatran culture of Indonesia. Mr. Budi Bowoleksono said that the Indonesia Garden will be a place for Indonesian culture and knowledge sharing. Additionally, he also highlighted the importance of promoting Indonesia globally, especially in Hawaii.

Figure 2. H.E. Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono (right) and Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro (left) received the Ulos, a traditional cloth from Batak, in the groundbreaking of Indonesia Garden.

Afterward, the conference resumed with a keynote speech from Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro (Founder of The Purnomo Yusgiantoro Center) with the topic of “General Overview of Indonesia – US Maritime Policy: Indonesia’s Maritime Fulcrum”. He highlighted Indonesia’s important roles in multilateral Indo – Pacific cooperation. Up to 2017, there were several regional cooperation including Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), East Asia Summit (EAS), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Regional Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro also emphasized the current changes of geoeconomics and geopolitics in the region which consequently shift the paradigm, from the Asia – Pacific concept to the Indo – Pacific concept. Indo – Pacific cooperation provides a great opportunity for its members as the cooperation includes 30% of global Gross domestic product (GDP) as well as more than 50% of the world’s population. This opportunity is believed can accelerate economic growth for each country in the Indo – Pacific region. However, the Indo – Pacific region faces some challenges including territorial disputes and border claims by several countries such as in the South China Sea dispute.

Furthermore, Prof. Purnomo Yusgiantoro stressed that Indonesia must be respected as an archipelagic country as was legitimized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, which has been ratified by more than 100 countries. Prof Purnomo Yusgiantoro also argued that the concept of maritime cooperation must be in line with the Indonesia – US Strategic Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the President of Indonesia and the President of US on October 26th, 2015. The MoU includes both general and specific scope of maritime cooperation. The specific cooperation supports comprehensive security and defense cooperation, supporting economic growth and national development. The maritime cooperation has actually been implemented by the countries such as by the ratification of a MoU between Indonesia Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA) and US Coast Guard.

Other speakers at this conference includes Rear Admiral (Ret) Peter A. Gumataotao (Director of Daniel K. Inouye Asia – Pacific Center for Security Studies), Mrs. Stephanie Juwana (Legal Assistant to Special Advisors at Indonesian Presidential Task Force to Combat Illegal Fishing (Satgas 115)), Mr. Carlton R. Cramer (Dean of Daniel K. Inouye Asia – Pacific Center for Security  Studies), Mr. Dade Ruskandar (Director of Cooperation Indonesia Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA)), Mr. James L. Duval (Senior Maritime Advisor, Coast Guard Office of International Affairs), Mr. Agung Dhamar Syakti (Dean of Raja Ali Haji Maritime University, Indonesia), Mr. Paulus Tjakrawan Taningdjaja (Vice Chairman Indonesian Association of Biofuel Producers (APROBI), Mr. Michael D. Tosatto (Regional Administrator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Island Regional Office), Mr. Budhi Halim (Indonesian National Shipowners Association), and the last speaker was Prof. Melda Kamil Ariadno (Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia).

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