Indonesian diplomats’ and foreign policy scholars’ perceptions and their implications on Indonesian foreign ministry bureaucratic responses to a rising China

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3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The question of whether China’s rise to power will be peaceful cannot be evaluated without considering the actions of other major powers. Therefore, this study seeks to explore how Indonesia formulates its response to a rising China. Although previous studies have recognized the importance of perception in shaping Indonesia’s strategic response toward China, previous scholarship has not achieved a systematic investigation of Indonesians’ perception of a rising China. Therefore, this study applies image theory from international relations scholarship to carry out a qualitative content analysis of empirical data collected during interviews with Indonesian diplomats as well as foreign policy scholars. This study finds that perceiving China as presenting a degree of threat rather than opportunity is the dominant perceptual trend among individuals in this study sample. The relatively moderate degree of threats from China were characterized more as economic exploitation and political subordination, than as military attacks or occupation. However, these should be evaluated alongside findings that those individuals are more perceptually sophisticated in their approach to understanding China. This finding therefore suggests, that in the foreseeable future, Indonesian foreign affairs bureaucracy will hardly encourage Jakarta to notably shift Indonesia’s orientation toward the rising power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalPacific Review
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Image theory
  • Indonesian foreign policy
  • Indonesia–China relations
  • perception
  • the rise of China

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