From Jakarta to Oceania: Indonesia’s Cultural Diplomacy with the South Pacific

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The South Pacific region has become a top foreign policy priority for Jakarta. This essay explains Indonesia’s utilisation of the cultural approach in its diplomatic engagement with the South Pacific. Cultural dissemination as a tool of international relations is scantly studied even though its use in diplomacy has successfully forged mutual understanding between people of discrete backgrounds. Indonesia uses a cultural approach to catch up diplomatically in its neighbouring, but previously overlooked, region and to address its ‘poor image’ problem that has persisted there for more than three decades. The cultural approach is intended to complement political and economic approaches. This study aims to bridge the gap in the literature vis-à-vis the role of culture in shaping foreign policy goals. Indonesia undertakes this ‘soft diplomacy’ based on its long-term orientation toward its national identity, politico-business and strategic interests. The Indonesian government is optimistic that cultural diplomacy will succeed in enhancing Indonesia’s status in this zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-64
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Asian Security and International Affairs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Cultural diplomacy
  • Indonesia
  • Oceania
  • foreign policy
  • identity


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