Appraisals of Indonesian foreign policy have frequently highlighted the 1955 Asian-African Conference, when Indonesia was considered to be at the forefront of an emerging force in international politics.
Often claimed as a fine era in Indonesian diplomacy, this account has imprinted the need to continuously cultivate relations with Africa.
Of course, such traditional ties should be seen in a positive light. However, it is important that they do not condition Indonesia into overlooking ties with “less traditional” partners elsewhere, such as Latin America.
The distance between Indonesia and Latin America may be enough to dishearten even the keenest proponent for stronger ties. A distance of 12,000 kilometers separates Jakarta and Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, twice farther than between Jakarta and Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa.