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Jakarta Post

High-paced chess

  • Editorial board

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 26 2020   /  01:00 am
This handout photo taken and released on October 20, 2020 by the Indonesian Presidential Palace shows Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (L) and Indonesian President Joko Widodo (R) meeting at the presidensial palace in Bogor on the outskirts of Jakarta.(AFP/Indonesian Presidential Palace)

A game of high-paced chess appears to be afoot in Southeast Asia, as the United States and its allies compete with China in shoring support among ASEAN states for the geopolitical rivalry, in the midst of a heated COVID-19 vaccine race that has consumed the region and the wider global community. Strategies are being carried out and the pieces all set up on the board, with a lot of activity focused around Indonesia that would inevitably test the limits of its free and active foreign policy. On Oct. 9-10, Indonesia dispatched its point man for China in the Cabinet, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, to meet Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi before his five-country tour of Southeast Asia, seeking assurances for an earlier promise by Beijing to help turn the country into an eventual hub for COVID-19 vaccine production. The following weekend, it was Prabowo Subianto's turn to head to Washin...