Palau, The Forgotten Close Neighbor of Southeast Asia. Why Does It Matter?
Palau, a tiny archipelago in the Western Pacific, is often overlooked when it comes to discussions about Southeast Asia. Despite being located just a few hundred kilometers from the Philippines and Indonesia, Palau is often forgotten as a close neighbor of Southeast Asia. However, Palau is a nation that matters to Southeast Asia as a whole for several reasons.
Firstly, Palau shares cultural and historical ties with Southeast Asia. The early settlers of Palau were Austronesian people who migrated to the island from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Over the centuries, Palau has been ruled by various foreign powers, including Spain, Germany, and Japan, all of which have left a lasting impact on the nation's culture and history. Palau also shares similar customs, traditions, and beliefs with neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
Secondly, Palau's strategic location in the Western Pacific makes it an important partner for Southeast Asian nations. The archipelago is located at the crossroads of major shipping routes, and its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is home to some of the world's most biodiverse waters. This makes Palau a valuable partner for Southeast Asian countries in areas such as maritime security, fisheries management, and environmental conservation.
Moreover, Palau's inclusion in the Southeast Asian region could bring many benefits for both Palau and the member states. Palau could benefit from increased trade and investment, tourism, and cultural exchange with Southeast Asian countries. At the same time, Southeast Asian countries could benefit from Palau's unique cultural and ecological attractions, its strategic location in the Pacific, and its role as a bridge between the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
In conclusion, Palau may be a small nation, but its importance to Southeast Asia as a whole cannot be overlooked. Palau's cultural, historical, and strategic ties to Southeast Asia, as well as its potential for regional cooperation, make it a valuable partner for the region. As Southeast Asian nations continue to strengthen their partnerships with the Pacific Island nations, Palau should not be forgotten as a close neighbor and an important member of the Southeast Asian community.
"Palau: Geopolitical Profile." Center for Strategic and International Studies, 8 October 2020, https://www.csis.org/programs/southeast-asia-program/palau-geopolitical-profile.
"Palau." Pacific Islands Forum, https://www.forumsec.org/country/palau/.
"Palau: A Strategic Partner in the Pacific." U.S. Department of State, 20 September 2019, https://www.state.gov/palau-a-strategic-partner-in-the-pacific/.
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