pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Democracies and Alliances in the Indo-Pacific


– 06/05/2018


Tokyo, Japan


June 4-5, 2018
Tokyo, Japan

Hosted by Pacific Forum and the Center for Rule-making Strategies at Tama University
with support from the US Embassy, Tokyo


Welcome Remarks
Brad Glosserman

Session 1: The meaning of “Indo-Pacific”
Where did the term originate, and how is different from other conceptions of the region (such as the “rebalance” to Asia or the “Asia-Pacific”)? Do different countries have different interpretations of the concept? What common features do interpretations share? What is the significance of the Quad (an informal strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia, and India) in relation to the “Indo-Pacific?”

Speakers: Robert Manning, Ashley Townshend, Kuni Miyake, Rajeswari Rajagopalan

Session 2: China and the “Indo-Pacific”
What role does China play in thinking on the “Indo-Pacific”? What is China’s view of this concept? How does the Indo-Pacific concept address China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and two-ocean strategy? What potential is there for an inclusive or harmonious relationship between (visions of) the Indo-Pacific and China?

Speakers: Masayuki Masuda, Manpreet Sethi, Anne-Marie Brady

Session 3: Implementing the Indo-Pacific I
This session explores the economic operationalization of the “Indo-Pacific” concept. How does the concept frame economics and trade relations in the region? How does each country’s trade policy fit in with this concept? What is the future of bilateral trade agreements like the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and multilateral trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) or Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)?

Speakers: Andrew Shearer, Akiko Fukushima, Tessa Versteeg

Session 4: Implementing the Indo-Pacific II
This session focuses on the security operationalization of the Indo-Pacific concept. Is the concept of the “Indo-Pacific” primarily about maritime security and freedom of navigation at sea? Does it address other regional security issues, such as North Korea’s missile and nuclear threat? What about security concerns like internal and natural threats? What are the implications for engagement with other regional security architectures?

Speakers: Shafiah Muhibat, Tomohiko Satake, Carl Baker

Session 5: Implementing the Indo-Pacific III
This session of operationalization addresses the values component of the “Indo-Pacific” concept. What role do values play in this concept? What values are central to it? How does the “Indo-Pacific” frame democracy, human rights, and a rules-based order? What role does Southeast Asia/ASEAN play in the Indo-Pacific? How should those promoting the Indo-Pacific view the 2018 elections in Malaysia and Cambodia, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, and other issues?

Speakers: Huong Le Thu, Haruko Satoh

Session 6: The meaning of the Indo-Pacific for Japan
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed the concept of the Indo-Pacific since 2007. What are Japan’s expectations for the Indo-Pacific, and how does Japan see its role in the region with regard to economics, security, and democracy/human rights? Are there competing visions for the region? How does Abe’s vision for the region align with those of other governments? Finally, what are key takeaways from the two days’ discussion and next steps?

Speakers: Keiichi Ichikawa, Jonathan Berkshire Miller

This closed-door conference was followed by a series of pubic panels in Tokyo, Osaka, and Naha that disseminated the conference findings.