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The deplomacy of the Pacific islands forum toward ASEAN : The meaning of forum's
The Pacific Islands Forum has been approaching ASEAN since the late 1970s in order to establish economic relations. Although the Forum has continuously perceived ASEAN as an economic partner, it had to concentrate deepening a mutual understanding with ASEAN because of “racial and cultural differences" which the ASEAN countries raised in the mid-1980s. New situation after 2000 brings changes to Forum's perception on ASEAN. With the development of Free Trade Agreements in Asia as well as the Forum region, ASEAN is appearing as an economic partner obtaining a new meaning to the Forum, that is, Free Trade Area. At the same time, a new image of ASEAN as a political-security space is bought to the Forum by two elements, namely political instability in Papua and prevalence of transnational crime which is mainly based in Asia. It would be possible that ASEAN as a political-security space surpasses the one as an economic partner in the perception of the Forum, since the former is rapidly increasing its reality for the Forum. How to integrate these two images of ASEAN, which are now situated independently in the perception of the Forum, is a critical question for the future direction of Forum's diplomacy toward ASEAN.