Today the focus is on China foreign policy issues – in this post – Indonesia and later today on the website – Australia.
Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest population. It is the largest Muslim-majority country with a vast archipelago that commands strategic sea lanes connecting Asia with the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Indonesia found Trump’s “America First” isolationism and belligerence stance towards China unattractive preferring balance as between US and China. Indonesia refused Pompeo’s urging to criticise Beijing re its Uighur policy.
China has become Indonesia’s largest trading partner and its second largest source of direct investment including a $6bn high-speed rail project under China’s Belt+Road Initiative. Indonesia also signed a deal with China’s Sinovac to provide 40m+ doses of its Corona vaccine by March 2021. But local disputes remain over the Nantuna islands and fishing rights.
The US led assumption that Indonesia and all SE Asia nations fear a China military takeover is as wrong as the US assumption that the people of China are oppressed by lack of human rights.