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The past month has seen rising tensions in the South China Sea. Indonesian naval vessels twice seized Chinese fishing boats near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands, leading President Joko Widodo to hold a symbolic meeting with several of his ministers aboard a warship in the vicinity. An ASEAN-China foreign minister’s meeting also ended in controversy, as ASEAN drafted and then, amid pressure from China, decided not to issue a statement critical of the country. Meanwhile, the Permanent Court of Arbitration announced that it will hand down its ruling on a case brought against China by the Philippines on 12 July – China has refused to participate in the case.
What are the implications of these developments for Indonesia, and how can it best respond? Will Indonesia’s relations with China be affected?
In this week’s Talking Indonesia podcast, I explore these issues with Dr Makmur Keliat from the Department of International Relations at the University of Indonesia. Until August 2015, Dr Keliat served as special staff to the cabinet secretary in the Jokowi administration. In 2014, Dr Keliat was also a member of the “Team of Eleven” academics who advised the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) on the selection of its presidential candidate.
Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight, hosted alternately by Dr Dave McRae and Dr Ken Setiawan. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen to the entire Talking Indonesia podcast archive via Stitcher.
Photo by Biro Pers Setpres.