Linking the impacts of perception, domestic politics, economic engagements, and the international environment on bilateral relations between Indonesia and China in the onset of the 21st century

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Abstract

China and Indonesia have undergone extreme changes throughout their relationship in the modern era. While China’s rise created both opportunities and challenges, Indonesian decision makers have experienced constant pressures from domestic and international influences when dealing with China. This article examines Indonesian-Chinese relations in the last two decades through four factors: perception, domestic politics, economic engagements, and the international environment, based on data from official documents, news, journal articles, and direct observation. This framework portrays significant development of the two countries’ partnership but not without problems. Internal factors (e.g., perceptions of elites, domestic politics) have become increasingly relevant in determining bilateral relations while international pressures filtered. China has provided many opportunities over the years, but economic and strategic relations seem to have relied more on Indonesia’s favorable domestic factors than regional and global developments. In particular, the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia variously promoted and hindered the relations. Chinese cultural diplomacy also expanded and involved a wide range of actors beyond government officials to influence Indonesian domestic factors by moderating negative sentiments about China and the Chinese. This study contributes to understanding on Indonesia’s foreign policy in the last two decades and China’s relations with its neighbors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary East Asia Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Four factors
  • Indonesia-China relations
  • Indonesia’s foreign policy
  • domestic politics
  • Perception

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