Indonesia at 75: Five Things to Know about Indonesia’s Foreign Policy

Seventy-five years after its independence, Indonesia still grapples to define its role in world politics. Though it is true that Indonesia has made some progress in its foreign policy throughout its history as an independent nation, there are issues where Indonesia lags behind. Noting that the same leadership assumes the role to lead the country for the next five years as it has in the past five years, what are five foreign policy items worth noting?

1. Relationship with China — and the US

It doesn’t take a genius to tell that Indonesia under the current leadership leans (more) towards China than it does towards the US.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Left), Indonesia’s Foreign Minister (Center), and Indonesia’s Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir (Right) met in Hainan, August 20, 2020.

2. ASEAN Remains Central — while Indo-Pacific Remains A Talkshop

ASEAN, having a special place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ agenda, remains central in Indonesia’s foreign policy.

3. Seats in UN Bodies Seeks to Boost Domestic Confidence

Indonesia assumes its non-permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council for 2019–2020. It has held two presidencies — the second one being as recent as August 2020.

Indonesia’s campaign to grab a seat at the HRC reads “A True Partner for Democracy, Development, and Social Justice”.
Indonesia’s bid for a seat at ECOSOC reads “A True Partner for Sustainable Development”.

4. In Search of the Right Balance: Palestine, Uyghur, and Rohingya

Indonesia has been very vocal in its support for the Palestinian people and the people of Rohingya.

5. Economic Diplomacy — The President’s Agenda

Despite not being the current minister of foreign affairs’ forte, President Joko Widodo has emphasized that for the next five years, Indonesia will focus on economic diplomacy.

What to Expect? — A Way Forward

Indonesia’s foreign policy outlook in the next five years looks promising, optimistic, and bright — seen from the economic point of view, considering President’s pick for the Deputy Foreign Minister.

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