Post-Election, Indonesian President Expected to Go Soft on China Despite Maritime Flaps
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to warm toward China in his second term in search of infrastructure funding instead of challenging Chinese sovereignty in a fishery-rich sea between them. The leader who since 2014 has emphasized domestic issues in Asia’s third largest country rather than foreign policy initiatives will probably build up Indonesia’s status as a node in China’s $1 trillion-plus Belt and Road Initiative, scholars who know the country say. The 6-year-old initiative is aimed at opening trade routes around Eurasia via infrastructure projects. Indonesia’s government will repel any Chinese vessels from waters it claims near the Natuna Islands, experts say, but otherwise avoid confronting the militarily stronger China over maritime sovereignty. The president, often known by his hybridized name Jokowi, won a second five-year term April 17. “Although Jokowi sought to downplay Chinese-funded projects in recent elections, he is likely to continue the current stance of attracting Chinese capital for infrastructure development while reinforcing defenses around the Natuna islands against Chinese encroachments and illegal fishing,” said Mohan Malik, a professor in Asian security with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in the United States. Stable Sino-Indonesian relations would advance Beijing’s goal of keeping Western-aligned powers out of the South China Sea dispute, possibly in Indonesia’s defense, while ensuring that the impoverished archipelago of some 13,000 islands gets vital infrastructure support. No compromise on the Natuna Islands Widodo’s next five years as president are expected overall to extend his maritime policies since 2016. Widodo parted ways around then with five predecessors by trying to shape Indonesia as a maritime power, according to published research by the East-West Center think tank in Honolulu. It says he sought to turn Indonesia into a “two-ocean, Indo-Pacific power” in view of the archipelago’s expanse. China claims most of... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Post-Election, Indonesian President Expected to Go Soft on China Despite Maritime Flaps, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Wednesday, 24 April
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