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Closing the Gap: Australian–Indonesian Relations, the ‘Perilous Moment’ and the Maritime Boundary Zone

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Australia and Indonesia are two vastly different countries that share a common sea border in the Timor and Arafura Seas. Yet economically, culturally and diplomatically, Australia and Indonesia have been moving much closer together over the last 20 years. In March 1997, the final portion of the seabed border was finally delineated, shortly before the onset of the serious economic crisis. This paper focuses on the changing political and economic relations between the two countries and links this with a discussion of border issues, specifically UNCLOS III, fish and hydrocarbon resources, the Timor Gap Zone of Cooperation and the still unresolved East Timor question.
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Keywords: Australia; Indonesia; Law of the Sea Convention; Timor Sea; ocean management

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia.

Publication date: 01 February 1999

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