Fiji’s national women’s rugby union team, the Fijiana, joining the Australian Super W team, the Queensland Red’s in a friendly tour of Australia in early 2020. (Credit: Oceania Rugby)

Sarah Leary of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recaps a new regional sports PD initiative.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on her speech said, “ I am very proud of all these youth who are coming from 41 different countries in Asia, Pacific, Europe, and America.” She also stated that the Indonesian government is always used Cultural diplomacy or soft power diplomacy to bridge the differences. This program is aimed at strengthening the friendship and diplomatic relations through art and culture.

Reflections on soft power in the Pacific.

What if China was beating the US as its own super-power game in the Pacific and we didn’t even notice? While Washington distracts itself with shutdown shenanigans and failed attempts to control the situation in the Middle East, president Obama’s “pivot to Asia” looks increasingly shaky. Beijing is quietly filling the gap, signing multi-billion dollar trade deals with Indonesia and calling for a regional infrastructure bank.

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Diplomacy needs to be backed by strength, but the US has plenty without militarizing Asia and the Pacific more than it already has. The peaceful resolution of these conflicts depends upon China having a role in the decision-making process, but this will require the US to step back and forego its desire for primacy in the region. And it will require the same of China.

Mr. Marles, who was accompanied by the Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Ms. Sandra Vegting, also announced a donation of 20,000 Australian dollars to develop a multi-purpose indoor sports facility as part of the Australian Sports Diplomacy initiative.