Indonesia

President Xi Jinping of China (left) is greeted by the President of the Indonesian Republic Joko Widodo during the formal welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of the G20 Summit on 15 November 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. (Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters)

Indonesian elites and the general public have different views of China

Presidents Xi Jinping and Joko Widodo witnessed the test "ride" of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail (HSR) via livestream during Chinese President Xi's visit to Indonesia for the G20 Summit in Bali. Economic cooperation remain high on the cards of bilateral relations, but while China’s trade and investment in Indonesia have grown substantially since the early 2000s, the Indonesian public does not share Jakarta’s desire to wholeheartedly embrace Beijing.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, wearing traditional Bangka Belitung outfit, greets parliament members after delivering his annual State of the Nation Address ahead of the country's Independence Day, at the parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, 16 August 2022. (Tatan Syuflana/Reuters)

Will Indonesia establish a University of Confucianism?

The Joko Widodo administration recently announced plans to establish the International State University of Confucianism in Bangka Belitung province. This plan has however been strongly opposed by the local Aliansi Ulama Islam (Islamic Ulama Alliance, or AUI). The success of the plan to establish the university is probably contingent on whether Joko Widodo remains in power. Should a conservative Muslim politician be elected as the next president, it is unlikely that this university will be built.
Ganjar during a site visit to Central Java where an embankment was damaged by high waves. (Ganjar Pranowo/Facebook)

Ganjar Pranowo: Indonesia’s potential presidential candidate stuck between a rock and a hard place

Among the candidates running for Indonesia’s next president, Ganjar Pranowo has emerged as a strong contender. ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives a profile of Ganjar, and examines the factors that would make or break his campaign, including his previous political affiliations and current political efforts.
Indonesia's Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto gestures while attending the Gerindra Party leaders national meeting, in Bogor, Indonesia, 12 August 2022. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

Prabowo Subianto: Indonesia’s controversial presidential candidate

Prabowo has been in Indonesia’s political scene for decades and his chequered past has not deterred him from multiple runs for vice-president and president. Given his support from the conservative and radical Muslims, with a potential running mate that can boost his standing, will Prabowo finally make his mark as Indonesia’s president in the 2024 elections? ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives a profile of this controversial figure.
Foreign tourists walk past a banner of the G20 for the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesia resort island of Bali on 14 July 2022. (Sonny Tumbelaka/Pool/AFP)

Indonesia’s G20 presidency: Carving out a path for developing countries' representation

Amid a world shaken by global events, President Jokowi has done his fair share of shuttle diplomacy in the lead-up to the G20 Summit in Bali later this year. While Indonesia has the potential to play an intermediary role among global powers, it remains circumspect and looks to push forward the G20 agenda in incremental and achievable steps.
Taiwanese soldiers take part in a military drill at an undisclosed location in Taiwan, on 8 August 2022 in this handout picture released on 10 August 2022. (Taiwan Military News Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Indonesia’s elites respond to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

Indonesia has long pursued a free and independent foreign policy that does not take sides, says ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata. However, with increased tensions in the Taiwan Strait, the diplomatic elites and experts in Indonesia have strongly objected to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and criticised the US’s “double standards” in its foreign policy. Indonesia will therefore need to weigh its interests and consider its gains and losses in the competition between the two superpowers.
Soldiers fire 155mm howitzers during an annual live fire military exercise in Pingtung, Taiwan, 9 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

SEA's great power 'neutrality' risks being pro-China and anti-US

Susannah Patton, director of the Southeast Asia Program at Lowy Institute, asserts that though they seem to be taking a neutral stance, many Southeast Asian countries’ responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increasing US-China tensions on Taiwan have in fact affirmed narratives that are implicitly more critical of the US and other G7 countries. This may help to shape a regional environment that is far too permissive of aggression and coercion — the precise scenario that the countries hope to avoid.
Local residents ride past pro-Taiwan independence flags in Taipei, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

The 'one China' policy of Southeast Asian countries

Academic Ngeow Chow Bing takes stock of the "one China" policy of Southeast Asian countries, noting changes in interpretations over the years and their subtle differences from China's "one China" principle and the US's "one China" policy. He warns that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has exacerbated cross-strait tensions and could further limit Taiwan's international space in Southeast Asia.
Anies Baswedan at an event in Jakarta, 22 July 2022. (Facebook/Anies Baswedan)

Anies Baswedan: Indonesia’s potential president adept at identity politics

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata gives a profile of Anies Baswedan, former education and culture minister of Indonesia, current Jakarta governor, and potential presidential candidate. Will he run, and if he does, what is his platform likely to be?