The response in Indonesia to Pelosi’s
visit to Taiwan

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Pelosi
National Security Council Secretary General Koo (left) and Foreign Minister Wu (right) give Speaker Pelosi (middle) an introduction to the historic Taipei Guest House.(Source: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TAIWAN)

Jakarta, IO – The visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan triggered a significant protest from Beijing and heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait. The ASEAN foreign ministers met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and issued an unified statement urging all parties to “exercise maximum restraint and avoid provocative actions… The world urgently needs the wisdom and responsibility of all leaders to maintain multilateralism and partnership, cooperation, and peaceful coexistence.” and healthy competition to achieve the common development goals of peace, stability, security, inclusiveness and sustainability”. 

On August 3, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasha released a statement identical to ASEAN’s, asking on all parties to take practical measures to avoid tensions from escalating. “Indonesia is concerned about the enmity of great powers,” the statement continued. 

If not managed appropriately, such animosity will escalate into a full fledged confrontation, threatening the present peace and stability, including the Taiwan Strait. To ensure peace and security, the globe need the knowledge and responsibility of all leaders.” “Indonesia reaffirms its acceptance of just one China,” the statement ended. 

Indonesia has followed a free and active foreign policy without taking sides under Widodo’s leadership. Furthermore, Indonesia regards itself as a large nation and aims to fulfil the role of a large country. The Jokowi administration places a high value on Indonesia’s worldwide image. During his second term, he hopes to make Indonesia a non-aligned country and to leave it as his political legacy. 

Concerning Taiwan, Indonesia has always emphasized that it adheres to the one-China policy. Even during the period when Jakarta severed diplomatic ties with Beijing, relations between the two countries have improved, but Indonesia has not abandoned the one-China policy. This is most likely due to Indonesian nationalism and Western Irian (now called Papua). When Suharto took power in 1969, Papua was legally absorbed into Indonesia. As a result, Suharto is likely to believe that the relations between mainland China and Taiwan is analogous to that between Indonesia and Papua. Jokowi has shared this viewpoint. 

Despite the fact that many Indonesian elites are educated in the West, the majority of them have a nationalist consciousness at this point. Now that the United States no longer dominates the world and China has risen, Indonesia has begun to analyze the benefits, gains, and losses in the rivalry between the two big powers, and is hesitant to become a vassal of a major power. Furthermore, the development of Islam in Indonesia has caused many people believe that the US is “hostile” to Muslims, hence they dislike the US.