Geopolitical dimensions of the TNI-U.S. Commander Meeting, President’s Visit to China

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Achmad Nur Hidayat MPP
Achmad Nur Hidayat MPP, Public Policy Expert and Chair of the Center for Political Economy Studies at UPN Veteran Jakarta.

How does Indonesia act in this scenario? 

To balance the steps taken by the commander-in-chief in accepting the visit of the US commander, President Jokowi has now arrived in China, to hold a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

The meeting was President Xi Jinping’s first official state meeting after implementing a zero covid policy. China has been stringent in prohibiting the entry and exit of citizens during this time. The meeting will emphasize economic cooperation, investment and handling of COVID-19. 

Indonesia indeed appears to be vacillating between the two superpowers. Indonesia is placing investment in its economy with China while securing its military with US training and tacit backing. This step is obviously concerning and irrelevant to the constitutional mandate of the Constitution, where it is stipulated that Indonesia must be actively involved in promoting world peace. 

It gives the impression that the Indonesian government is taking advantage of tensions rather than easing them. 

Recommendation Indonesia had better not take sides with either country merely for our own benefit; instead, Indonesia must firmly convey a reconciliation agenda over the South China Sea, by establishing formal and informal meetings between disputing parties, China-Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia. 

Read: President Jokowi signs 7 MoUs on visit to China

Indonesia is still recklessly lashing its economy and investment closer and closer with China while furthering military cooperation with the US, acts which can jeopardize the Indonesian future. 

The Indonesian government should not put our future on the line. Tension can escalate to physical war and destroy Indonesia on the front line. We expect to see Indonesian foreign policy play beautifully and wisely instead of exploiting tensions, especially for the sake of the 2024 presidential election.