Truly Asia Essay

Truly Asia Essay-55
With the “dynamic equilibrium” ideology in mind, and to complete the circle of powers within the EAS, Jakarta also strongly pushed for widening membership to include the United States and Russia.Indonesia thus warmly welcomed the Obama administration’s decision to rebalance U. policy toward Asia and give higher priority to relations with ASEAN, signified in part by Washington’s accession to the TAC.For its part, Washington at the time indicated little interest in this important development in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Indonesia, like other members of ASEAN, strongly believes that the best way to ensure that China’s policy toward the region is friendly is by convincing Beijing that it has a direct strategic interest in Southeast Asian security and prosperity.

At the same time, however, uncertainty about the future remains.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono argues that Indonesia’s foreign policy is characterized by the pursuit of “one million friends, zero enemies,” and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa supports a “dynamic equilibrium” among the major powers, particularly in a regional context.

Whereas the traditional concept of balance of power is conflictual in nature, the concept of dynamic equilibrium envisages a more cooperative system of relations between powers without any clear-cut adversaries.

From Jakarta’s perspective, the importance Washington attaches to Indonesia and ASEAN should not simply be derivative of China’s rise but instead be based on the intrinsic value of the country and subregion.

As the largest country in Southeast Asia and the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and third-largest democracy, Indonesia has sought to enhance its international footprint, particularly in key bilateral relationships.Hence, there is an urgent need for the development of a more robust regional structure in which China’s overwhelming power can be harnessed more peacefully and productively within an East Asian community.Thus, while trying to integrate China into the evolving regional architecture, Indonesia has opposed the formation of a regional institution in which China’s power would outweigh that of other members.During the same period, China’s membership in the ASEAN 3 (China, Japan, and South Korea), the EAS, and APEC allowed Chinese leaders to strengthen newly forged ties with neighboring countries through more frequent meetings at the top level. involvement gave East Asian countries a rare window of opportunity to develop a new set of relationships among themselves, particularly for managing China’s rise in a more inclusive way.Notwithstanding the fact that the United States was never truly absent from Southeast Asia—as indicated by its continued close bilateral relations with most ASEAN member states, ongoing commitment to its regional allies, and overwhelming maritime military presence—the perception that the U. role in regional affairs was declining as China’s was ascending cannot be easily dismissed. It also enabled ASEAN to take a leading role in fostering regional mechanisms aimed at promoting peace, stability, and prosperity by engaging richer and more powerful countries, including China, in regional architectures.Within a relatively short time, Beijing succeeded in developing close bilateral ties with countries that had earlier viewed China with suspicion, including Indonesia, and established itself as a key player in the regional architectures of the wider East Asia region.In the view of ASEAN, whose five original members had close relations with Washington and no diplomatic relations with Beijing throughout most of the Cold War period, the contrast between China’s attention and the United States’ relative neglect was clearly illustrated by the unfailing attendance of top Chinese leaders at ASEAN-driven regional meetings, on the one hand, and the repeated absence of U. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), on the other.When the EAS was first proposed in 2005, a number of ASEAN members and China envisaged that it would be the formalization of the ASEAN 3 with an additional noneconomic agenda.Indonesia, however, was concerned that in such a regional setting China would be able to dictate the summit’s agenda, and therefore Jakarta argued for enlarging the EAS’s membership by expanding the strategic boundary of East Asia to include India, Australia, and New Zealand.President Yudhoyono first proposed in November 2008 that Jakarta and Washington sign a comprehensive partnership to broaden and deepen relations between the two countries, which was quickly endorsed by the new Obama administration. rebalancing toward Asia, some in Indonesia have raised concerns that Washington has placed too much emphasis on the military dimension of this strategy.The Comprehensive Partnership Agreement was signed during President Obama’s first visit to Indonesia in November 2010, which probably marked the highest point in bilateral relations. The announcement of the rotational basing of 2,500 U. marines in Darwin, Australia, was initially met with sharp criticism from the Indonesian foreign minister, who feared that such a move could lead to counterreaction and the heightening of regional tension.


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