China-Indonesia relations

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspects an area that will be the site of the new capital city, during sunrise in Penajam Paser Utara regency, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia, 15 March 2022. (Courtesy of Agus Suparto/Indonesian Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters)

Will China invest in Indonesia's new capital 'Nusantara'?

Amid fears of an increasing dependence on China being played up with regards to foreign investment for Indonesia's new capital in East Kalimantan, one must first ask if Indonesia offers an attractive enough proposition for Chinese (and other) investors, says Indonesian researcher Siwage Dharma Negara.
Students gather as schools transition to in-classroom teaching amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Jakarta on 3 January 2022. (Adek Berry/AFP)

China’s Islamic diplomacy in Indonesia is seeing results

China’s efforts at Islamic diplomacy — including providing scholarships for Indonesian students and inviting leaders of Islamic organisations to visit China — seem to be paying off, at least in producing young academics like Novi Basuki, who has been defending China’s actions in Xinjiang. NTU academic Leo Suryadinata tells us more.
Police officers patrol the square in front of Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, 3 May 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Why Indonesia's Muslim organisations are not critical of China's Xinjiang policy

China's faith diplomacy towards Muslim organisations in Indonesia appears to have silenced critics of its policy towards the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Among its efforts, Beijing has portrayed itself as an ally of moderate Muslims against extremism, and invited Indonesian clerics several times to Xinjiang to give them a firsthand look into conditions there. In return, major religious figures in Indonesia have called on Indonesians not to criticise China over the Uighur issue. This is likely to continue as long as the Indonesian government sees benefits in its links with China.
A student cycles past a wall mural in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on 10 December 2021. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

Huawei digital talent programme: Another source of China's soft power in Indonesia

Huawei’s digital talent programme in Indonesia is contributing to China’s soft power as the latter seeks to engage Indonesia as an important node of its Belt and Road Initiative. Indonesia stands to gain from the exchange but also needs to be wary of possible cybersecurity concerns.
A protester sticks posters outside the Chinese embassy following reports that China has encroached on Indonesia’s maritime area in the South China Sea, in Jakarta, Indonesia, 8 December 2021. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

South China Sea dispute: Why can't Southeast Asian countries stand united against China's claims?

Amid the spectre of China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Indonesia plans to convene a meeting with some of its ASEAN colleagues — including the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore. If the meeting happens, Beijing may not dial down its activities in the disputed areas, but the point would have been made that Indonesia is prepared to take the lead in galvanising ASEAN on South China Sea matters. The idea of a meeting is not new, but this time it might just work.
Lu Kang, former foreign ministry spokesperson who was also director-general of the ministry’s information department, slated to become next Chinese ambassador to Indonesia. (Internet)

Prospective Chinese ambassador to Indonesia Lu Kang will have sights on engaging ASEAN

Former foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang is slated to be the next Chinese ambassador to Indonesia. Amid US-China tensions, a post in Indonesia presents opportunities and challenges both in terms of bilateral relations and in engaging ASEAN. Known to be a steady hand, if Lu can chalk up notable achievements during his tenure, he may move on to higher roles, just like other high-flying spokesmen of the ministry.
An Indonesian Naval cadets uses binoculars as he monitors the signal from the KRI Diponegoro-365 during a joint excercise on guarding Indonesia's borders, in the North Natuna sea, Riau islands, Indonesia, 1 October 2021. (Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja/via Reuters)

Indonesia's response to China’s incursions in North Natuna Sea unsatisfactory: Indonesian academic

Indonesian academic Evan A. Laksmana notes that China has subjected Indonesia to maritime grey zone tactics in the South China Sea, attempting to change the strategic equation at sea and beyond without provoking a direct conflict. While Chinese incursions into the North Natuna Sea in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) have increased, Indonesia has kept mum and appears unprepared to counter these actions. Laksmana examines the reasons behind Indonesian policymakers' reserved response.
Fishermen pull in their net along the coast of Banda Aceh on 1 August 2021. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

Strong civilian presence needed to protect Indonesia's sovereignty in the North Natuna Sea

Indonesian academic Aristyo Rizka Darmawan notes the intrusions of Chinese vessels into Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone. He says to deter Chinese activities in the North Natuna Sea, Indonesia needs to complement its military assets in the area with a strong civilian presence.
An Indonesian Airforce's F-16 jet fighter flies over an Indonesian Navy warship during an operation in Natuna, near the South China Sea, Indonesia, 10 January 2020. (M Risyal Hidayat/Antara Foto via Reuters)

Indonesian academic: China’s recent foray into the North Natuna Sea is problematic

A Chinese survey ship was reported to be operating in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone in the North Natuna Sea recently. This is not new, but this time the survey ship was reportedly accompanied by at least six Chinese naval vessels. Jakarta should consider a firm response to Beijing.