On 24 January, the Australia-Indonesia Centre (AIC) in partnership with Perth USAsia Centre and PwC hosted a special roundtable luncheon for Indonesia’s former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to the United States, Dr Dino Patti Djalal. Helen Brown, AIC’s digital economy fellow, interviewed Dino and moderated a discussion focussed on new realities in a contemporary Indonesia.
- President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is focused on his domestic agenda but through his tenure as President he has become more aware of international issues and the role Indonesia can play in global politics. Early in his presidency, Jokowi was unfamiliar with geopolitics and was sceptical of summits such as the G20 and APEC. Jokowi was wholly focused on delivering his domestic reform promises. Today, Jokowi is more balanced between international and domestic issues and even enjoys attending international summits.
- A major question hangs over a vision for ASEAN. What's the next big goal for the regional association? ASEAN has achieved its economic community in 2015, but no ASEAN leader has articulated a comprehensive vision for the future.
- Indonesia's relations with China are complex and China has three things Indonesia wants: trade, investment and tourists. China has risen to become Indonesia's third largest investment partner.
- However, there are also problems in Indonesia-China relations. Dr Dino Patti Djalal drew upon the research from America's Role in the Indo-Pacific showing that China is perceived as a future power by Indonesians, but isn't necessarily liked. Dr Djalal mentioned China is perceived in three different ways in Indonesia. These perceptions can be described as bullish, cautious and resentful. For example, the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway project is a prominent Chinese infrastructure that has run into significant delays. The bureaucracy remains cautious about Chinese investment with Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), limiting Chinese One Belt On Road (OBOR) investment to a small number of provinces such as North Sulawesi and North Borneo. There is also some resentment towards China when it comes to its maritime territorial claims in the South China Sea near the Natuna islands.