Is Timor Leste part of the South Pacific?

Timor island is technically not out there in the open ocean, but enfolded in the Timor Sea, whose waters are connected to both the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, bordering Indonesia and Australia.

Geographically, Timor is in the deep sea gap between the Sunda and Sahul shelfs, a region otherwise known as "Wallacea", which includes the Philippines, Sulawesi, Maluku, and the Nusatenggara islands. The Sahul shelf, which includes New Guinea and Australia, are definitely considered the South Pacific, but I'm never sure about the southern belt of Wallacea, which includes Timor and Maluku Barat Daya...the eastern end of MBD faces the west Pacific ocean.

Ethnically, the indigenous Timorese people are mostly a mix of Malayo-Polynesian and Melanesian-Papua. Both are ethnic groups of the South Pacific.

Politically, Timor Leste is surrounded by states that associate either with ASEAN or the South Pacific. Australia is definitely the South Pacific. Indonesia is always associated with ASEAN, but never with the South Pacific. But Indonesia also administers West Papua, which is geographically part of the South Pacific. Papua New Guinea never associates with ASEAN, and if West Papua ever became independent, I'd guess that they'd be more likely to associate with the South Pacific for geo-cultural similarities rather than with ASEAN.

Most of the articles I read say that Timor Leste is part of Southeast Asia. But honestly, look at any map and you'll see that Timor is much closer to Australia than mainland Asia. Occasionally, I'd also find Timor Leste as a member in associations whose other members are primarily South Pacific states.

So with all these facts considered, would it still be correct if I call Timor Leste a nation / state of the South Pacific? Or would this be wrong? Why or why not?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes you guys deffinitely are part of the Pacific cause you can find relatives (members of your race) in Papua New Guinea which is a Pacific Island nation. East Timorese and a certain ethnic group that exists along the Papuan coast of Papua New Guinea are related, the name of the province you may find them in is Central or just Central Province. That particular ethnic group is Malayo-Polynesian mixed with Melanesian-Papuan and the people do resemble East Timorese. Because of their Malay and Polynesian-like features they are quite distinct from the predominant Melanesian race of Papua New Guinea and they speak Austronesian languages just like other Pacific Islanders. It is possible that their ancestors migrated from Timor thousands of years ago.

  • rindos
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

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