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Jakarta Post

Insight: Indonesia needs new strategy to deal with China

  • Evan A. Laksmana
    Evan A. Laksmana

    Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 8, 2020   /  09:12 am
Insight: Indonesia needs new strategy to deal with China Fabulous five: Centre for Strategic and International Studies cofounder Jusuf Wanandi (from left to right) smiles on stage while standing next to Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, former Chinese ambassador to Indonesia Lan Lijun and Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun during the opening of a seminar on the fifth anniversary of the Indonesia-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in Jakarta. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana)

The latest encroachment on Indonesian waters by Chinese fishing vessels and the Chinese coast guard several days ago highlights a fundamental reality: China could ignore Indonesia’s interests and concerns because it can. Jakarta, after all, has been singing the same tune every time there is a maritime incident involving China, combining strong diplomatic protests with some form of military posturing. Last week, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador and conveyed a strong protest note. Officials then publicly reasserted the illegality of the “nine-dash line” and “historic fishing rights”. The security establishment then deployed warships and patrol vessels in the area. There is nothing wrong with such strong responses. But we have employed them before in recent years. In 2016, following a similar incident involving Chinese vessels, we e...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.