For Canadian exporters and service providers, ICA-CEPA presents an opportunity to expand into a youthful, growing and technologically-aware market that is also the largest economy in South-East Asia. It will also complement the rising awareness in Canada of the increasing strategic and economic importance of the Indo-Pacific.
It is unlikely that ASEAN will agree to a co-ordinated response to the military coup in Myanmar, leaving it to countries from outside the region to impose stronger measures. Convincing the military to schedule a new election with ASEAN oversight, while not ideal, may be the best-case scenario for ASEAN.
Petitioning to re-open Bali is a move of desperation from the local government. It will be difficult to attract a suitable number of tourists, though, given the many factors beyond the control of the Indonesian authorities.
Indonesia may see the worst of the pandemic in 2021 and Australia should closely watch how Jakarta’s relationship with Beijing develops. The fate of the hardline Front Pembela Islam may also be decided, which could have a significant impact on the broader community.
The presence of the firebrand cleric in Indonesia will make Canberra uncomfortable as he represents a cultural shift that could further alienate the two countries and complicate any initiatives towards gaining a better understanding of each other.
The bilateral relationship with Indonesia is at the foreground of US foreign policy as the presidential election unfolds. The outcome of the election could sway the US approach to Indonesia and the wider region.
While there was no single significant outcome from the meeting, it nonetheless highlights the growing importance of Indonesia to the United States and pragmatism from Indonesia’s Government in keeping Washington onside.
Implementing practical co-operative projects to assist in dealing with the pandemic could help South Korea realise its goal to be a strategic partner in Southeast Asia.
Building the new capital has been delayed until Indonesia’s economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. That, however, could take several years, although the government will still likely push for construction to begin before the end of Jokowi’s term in office.
The discussions are part of an effort by the US to bring together a collective stance against China’s activities in the South China Sea. In the short-term future, however, it is unlikely that Washington will actually become the driving force behind such a coalition.