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Indonesia- China relations: Challenges and Opportunities

Rahul Mishra was Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
Irfa Puspitasari is Research Intern at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • November 22, 2010

    During the course of their sixty year-old bilateral relationship, Indonesia and China have gone through many ups and downs. A great part of the formative years of this relationship was marred by mutual apathy, if not distrust. Over the last decade, however, things have started looking up, with massive trade flows and the opening up of new vistas of cooperation in a range of sectors. At the regional sub-systemic level, Indonesia-China relations are, to a great extent, still shaped up by the ASEAN-China relations. However, so long as China does not meddle in Indonesian domestic politics and does not try to fish in the troubled waters of the South China Sea, relations would go on to higher trajectories. So far, Jakarta has been successful in developing good ties with Beijing, while keeping Washington DC in good humour. Yet, maintaining a fine balance would be like a tight ropewalk for Jakarta, which has to keep its association with the US intact on one hand and strengthen bonds with the next-door super power China on the other.

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