A safe and secure maritime environment is an important precondition, not only for archipelagic and coastal states, but also for global trade. The importance of this maritime security seems to be more critical for country like Indonesia which is surrounded by Indian Ocean in the west and south, Pacific Ocean in the northeast and east, as well as South China Sea in the north. Nevertheless, since maritime space is physically borderless, a problem happened in its surrounding maritime area surely can affect Indonesian’s. Thus, Indonesia could not manage it only based on its own capacity, but also should collaborate with its surrounding states in the region. This argumentation then leads to evoke the importance of regional maritime security. This issue was seriously discussed in the National Seminar on Regional Maritime Security, 13 March 2017, conducted by the Center for Political Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2P LIPI).
As informed in the welcoming remarks by Dr. Adriana Elisabeth (Head of P2P LIPI), this is the third and final seminar of the Dialogue Series on International Maritime Security Issues from Indonesia and Japan Perspectives. In January, the first seminar talked about maritime diplomacy and managed to propose ‘a modern and innovative maritime diplomacy’ in dealing with bilateral and regional dynamics including in the case of South China Sea. The second dialogue on February discussed the importance of ‘inclusive maritime resource border management’ in order to bring prosperity to the people, the true owner of those resources. The third seminar will complete the discourse of managing international maritime security issues comprehensively.
Moderated by Shofwan Al Banna, Ph.D, Head of ASEAN Research Center of the University of Indonesia, this seminar presented four prominent speakers from Indonesia and Japan. The first speaker, Professor Mie Oba, Ph.D from Tokyo University of Science, talked about the prospects of Japan-ASEAN maritime security cooperation from Japan’s viewpoint and contribution. He argued that Japan’s political elites are becoming more interested in the maritime security in Southeast Asia, not only in Northeast Asia. Japan already had provided assistance to non-traditional security aspect, and now Japanese political elites also put interests in traditional security aspect. This increasing interest is related to the rise of China and China’s behavior in South China Sea as well as in East China Sea. In other words, “East Asia” including not only the Northeast Asia but also Southeast Asia is becoming very important strategic and political arena for Japan now. She also noted that ASEAN surely took the important role to promote maritime security and maintain the peace and stability in Southeast Asia.
The second speaker, Dr. Riefqi Muna, Ph.D, delivered his presentation on ‘Dynamics of Maritime Security in Southeast Asia: The Need of New Approach to Promote Cooperation’. He started to explain the conceptual framework of the so-called strategic and sub-strategic maritime security. Strategic issue is about strategic military or naval dimension of security, while sub-strategic issue relates to the non-military dimension, non-traditional security threats such as illegal fishing, drug trafficking, people smuggling, etc. Furthermore, he talked about Indonesia’s maritime view (Indonesia’s position) and strategy, which he argued that there are some gap between Indonesia’s strategy of maritime fulcrum and the real capability of the ground in asset and tools. Dr. Muna then proposed the need of developing ‘hotline’ communication among leaders of countries. More dialogues are important to make communication not only for the ministry level but also maybe dialogue among the community of academic and community of practice to develop cooperative security in the region.
Makoto Seta, Ph.D from Yokohama City University as the third speaker brought the issue of ‘Criminalization of IUU Fishing in Asia Region’. He told the audiences that Japan has modified its criminal law to enhance the maximum of monetary punishment (from 10 million to 30 million yen). Simultaneously, China started to police illegal fishing more actively. This fact revealed how important the regional cooperation is when combating against IUU fishing, especially among coastal States, States of fisherman’s nationality, and flag States. However, in the Asia region, there seem two obstacles to realize such cooperation: disputes over maritime delimitations and states that do not trust international law. In this context, the current tendency to criminalize IUU fishing can contribute to fostering the cooperation based on legally binding instruments, namely by concluding a new regional treaty to fight against IUU fishing. If Asian States successfully criminalizes IUU fishing in its region, it reveals an Asian perspective, a “perspective of the ocean”, that recently dominated by European countries’ view.
The fourth speaker is Amb. Arif Havas Oegroseno, SH, LLM, Deputy Minister for Maritime Sovereignty, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Resources of the Republic of Indonesia. He highlighted that Indonesia has just ‘Indonesian Ocean Policy’ signed by president No.16/2017, which is a very complete and comprehensive document. He stated gratitude to the Dr. Adriana Elisabeth and Riefqi Muna, Ph.D from the Center for Political Studies for their contribution to its formulation process. This policy is based on two elements of Indonesia’s interest. The first is domestic interest which includes the use of resources, research and development, connectivity, development of the coastal area, marine basin, infrastructure, public development illegal fishing, etc. The second element, external aspect of Indonesian ocean policy, is how Indonesia plays its role in the region and moves forward to make creation of white paper in Indonesian maritime diplomacy. This maritime diplomacy consists of four points: 1) 1 Indonesia has leadership in the region, 2) Indonesia plays active role in the security, maintenance in the region and beyond, 3) maritime economic diplomacy like investment, maritime issues, and 4) relation to Indonesian leadership in many international organizations.
Concluding the seminar, Shofwan Al Banna pointed out that Asia Pacific becomes more important both in strategic and economic aspects. This is related to the increasing of the maritime area which also makes many challenges. He also noted the importance of a wider horizon including the regional horizon by seeing dynamics outside the area, seeing wider issue of strategic and sub-strategic maritime security, and cooperating among others in certain issues. Finally, the moderated acknowledged that this discussion gives the audiences various perspective and interesting answer, but it does not mean that the problem is over. Therefore, more discussion should be held in the future. (Sandy Nur Ikfal Raharjo)