Despite Bordering Indonesia, Why isn't Papua New Guinea in Southeast Asia?
Although located near Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea is more influenced by the culture and customs of Oceania. Politically, Papua New Guinea also interacts more with countries in the Oceania region. Papua New Guinea is also a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, a regional organization made up of countries in Oceania. In the forum, Papua New Guinea, along with other countries, discusses issues such as climate change, security, and trade.
The reasons for the formation of regions and regionalism are not only geographical, but also cultural and historical, such as the formation of Southeast Asia with ASEAN and the Pacific Island countries with the Pacific Islands Forum. This is also the reason why Papua New Guinea is not included in the Southeast Asia region. A region itself is an area or region that has special characteristics that distinguish it from other regions or areas. Meanwhile, regionalism is a movement, organization, or body that encourages the development and maintenance of the identity and special interests of a region or area.
Although Papua New Guinea is geographically adjacent to Indonesia, it is on a different continental plate. The island of Papua is actually fused with the Australian continental plate. So, the islands of Papua Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are geographically part of the Pacific Islands. However, the reason why the island of Papua is part of Indonesia and included in Southeast Asia, while Papua New Guinea is its own country and included in the Pacific Islands region, is due to historical reasons.
Historical roots play an important role in the formation of regions and regionalism in the Pacific Islands. Like many countries in the region, Papua New Guinea was originally a European colony, ruled by the Dutch, British, and Germans before being granted independence by Australia, a commonwealth country, in 1975. Indonesia, on the other hand, gained its independence from the Netherlands. Later, during colonialism, many political policies and practices were implemented by similar colonial rulers in different parts of the Pacific Islands. This influenced the political and cultural development of the region, and eventually shaped unique regional identities.
This, in turn, has influenced politics and economics, where Papua New Guinea has strong connections with neighboring countries in the Pacific Islands. It is a member of several regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific Islands Cooperation Organization, and the Pacific Islands Agricultural Development Centre. In addition, Papua New Guinea is also economically connected to its neighbors through trade and investment.
Cultural factors also play an important role in the formation of regionalism in the Pacific Islands. Despite being made up of many islands and different tribes, the region shares many similarities in cultural aspects such as art, music, and dance. In Papua New Guinea alone, there are more than 800 different ethnic groups, yet they all share some similarities in their cultural practices.
The above explains why Papua New Guinea is included in the Oceania region due to geographical, cultural, historical, and political factors. Although located near Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea has historical roots that make it part of the Oceania region and also has unique cultures and customs that are closer to countries in the Oceania region. Therefore, Papua New Guinea is considered part of the Oceania region and not Southeast Asia.
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