Diluting Rivalries between Great Powers
Since China is one of the main major powers in the Indo-Pacific, understanding its interests is a significant part of finding options for cooperation in the region. Therefore, one of the initial steps is to understand what are considered as “core interests” for China. While there are arguments that the definition of China’s core interests is still vague, there have been several hints from its government. According to China’s official document “China’s Peaceful Development” in 2011, there are several core interests upheld by China including “... state sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and national reunification, China’s political system established by the Constitution and overall social stability, and the basic safeguards for ensuring sustainable economic and social development”. These points were then emphasized in article 2 of China's national security law in 2015 that identified the country’s core interests as the political regime, sovereignty, territorial integrity, people’s livelihoods, sustainable economic developments and other major interests.
It is quite clear that China’s core interests are closely related to the government regime, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and sustainable economic development. The first two main interests seem to be unarguable. First, China’s governmental regime is closely related to ideological elements that cannot be negotiated, even for the purpose of cooperation. Second, China’s territorial integrity is also difficult to compromise. The discussion about China’s territorial integrity is practically inseparable from its territorial claims, such as the South China Sea and Taiwan. In this case, Taiwan is a very sensitive issue for China. Any attempt that has ill intention from China’s perspective will only worsen the problem. Further, from the prolonged disputes and failed arbitration, it is safe to say that China will not back down from its claim over the South China Sea. This is not to say that the dispute is to be left as it is. Nevertheless, conflict management or efforts to keep the dispute from turning into an open armed conflict can be considered as a more viable option than conflict or dispute resolution.
China’s interests in economic development are perhaps the most suitable basis for cooperation, as the country still pays significant attention to this factor. An example is China’s endorsement of regional economic cooperation, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Furthermore, China continues to implement the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop cooperation in order to boost people-to-people connectivity, finance, trade and infrastructure, building a new platform for international cooperation and creating new drivers of shared development. Through BRI, China has tried to create a hospitable environment for its economic activities. Thus, it is clear that China’s economic development interests are probably the most open and most suitable basis for building the cooperation that is urgently needed to properly shape a cooperative, rather than conflictual, atmosphere in the Indo-Pacific.
 Suisheng Zhao, „China’s Belt-Road Initiative as the Signature of President Xi Jinping Diplomacy: Easier Said than Done“, Journal of Contemporary China (2019): S. 4, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2019.1645 4 83.
 Hideo Ohashi, „The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the context of China’s opening-up policy“, Journal of Contemporary East Asia Studies (2018): S. 7, DOI: 10.1080/24761028.2018.1564615
Diluting Rivalries between Great Powers
Rising tensions among the great powers are contributing to uncertainty and the security dilemma in the Indo-Pacific region. This raises the question of possible policy alternatives amidst conflictual developments. The role of smaller powers within the region and extra-regional powers, such as European countries, offers the potential to cope with the growing rivalries. In particular, it is significant to examine the position and role of Indonesia, one of the most influential members of ASEAN. Cooperation within the region and with extra-regional powers is needed to ease tensions and guarantee sustainable cooperation.