Foreign relations of Indonesia
Since independence, Indonesian foreign relations have adhered to a "free and active" foreign policy, seeking to play a role in regional affairs commensurate with its size and location but avoiding involvement in conflicts among major powers. Indonesian foreign policy under the "New Order" government of President Suharto moved away from the stridently anti-Western, anti-American posturing that characterised the latter part of the Sukarno era. Following Suharto's ouster in 1998, Indonesia's government has preserved the broad outlines of Suharto's independent, moderate foreign policy. Preoccupation with domestic problems has not prevented successive presidents from travelling abroad.
Indonesia's relations with the international community were strained as a result of its invasion of neighbouring East Timor in December 1975, the subsequent annexation and occupation, the independence referendum in 1999 and the resulting violence afterwards. As one of the founding members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), established in 1967, and also as the largest country in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has put ASEAN as the cornerstone of its foreign policy and outlook. After the transformation from Suharto's regime to a relatively open and democratic country in the 21st century, Indonesia today exercises its influence to promote co-operation, development, democracy, security, peace and stability in the region through its leadership in ASEAN.
Indonesia managed to play a role as a peacemaker in the Cambodia-Thailand conflict over the Preah Vihear temple. Indonesia and other ASEAN member countries collectively have also played a role in encouraging the government of Myanmar to open up its political system and introduce other reforms more quickly.
Significant international memberships
A cornerstone of Indonesia's contemporary foreign policy is its participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which it was a founding member in 1967 with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Since then, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and Cambodia also have joined ASEAN. While organised to promote shared economic, social, and cultural goals, ASEAN acquired a security dimension after Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia in 1979; this aspect of ASEAN expanded with the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum in 1994, which comprises 22 countries, including the US.
Indonesian national capital Jakarta is also the seat of ASEAN Secretariat, located at Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. Other than serving their diplomatic missions for Indonesia, numbers of foreign embassies and diplomatic mission in Jakarta are also accredited to ASEAN. ASEAN Headquarter has led to the prominence of Jakarta as a diplomatic hub in Southeast Asia.
In the late 1990s to early 2000s, Indonesia's continued domestic troubles have distracted it from ASEAN matters and consequently lessened its influence within the organisation. However, after the political and economic transformation, from the turmoil of 1998 Reformasi to the relatively open and democratic civil society with rapid economic growth in the 2010s, Indonesia returned to the region's diplomatic stage by assuming its leadership role in ASEAN in 2011. Indonesia is viewed to have weight, international legitimacy and global appeal to draw support and attention from around the world to ASEAN. Indonesia believes that ASEAN can contribute positively to the international community, by promoting economic development and co-operation, improving security, peace, the stability of ASEAN, and making the Southeast Asia region far from conflicts.
Indonesia's bilateral relations with three neighbouring ASEAN members — Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam — are not without challenges. If not appropriately managed, it would result in mutual mistrust and suspicion, thus hindering bilateral and regional co-operation. In the era of rising Indonesia, which might assert its leadership role within ASEAN, the problem could become more significant. Nevertheless, the rise of Indonesia should be regarded in the sense of optimism. First, although Indonesia is likely to become assertive, the general tone of its foreign policy is mainly liberal and accommodating. The consolidation of the Indonesian democratic government played a key role and influence in ASEAN. The second, institutional web of ASEAN will sustain engagements and regular meetings between regional elites, thus deepening their mutual understanding and personal connections.
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Indonesia also was one of the founders of NAM and has taken moderate positions in its councils. As NAM Chairman in 1992–95, it led NAM positions away from the rhetoric of North-South confrontation, advocating the broadening of North-South co-operation instead in the area of development. Indonesia continues to be a prominent, and generally helpful, leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population and is a member of OIC. It carefully considers the interests of Islamic solidarity in its foreign policy decisions but generally has been an influence for moderation in the OIC.
Indonesia has been a strong supporter of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Mainly through the efforts of President Suharto at the 1994 meeting in Indonesia, APEC members agreed to implement free trade in the region by 2010 for industrialised economies and 2020 for developing economies. As the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia also belongs to other economic groupings such as G20 and Developing 8 Countries (D-8).
G-20 major economies
In 2008, Indonesia was admitted as a member of the G20, as the only ASEAN member state in the group. Through its membership in the global economic powerhouse that accounted of 85% of the global economy, Indonesia is keen to position itself as a mouthpiece for ASEAN countries, and as a representative of the developing world within the G-20.
IGGI and CGI
After 1966, Indonesia welcomed and maintained close relations with the international donor community, particularly the United States, western Europe, Australia, and Japan, through the meetings of the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI) and its successor, the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI), which coordinated substantial foreign economic assistance. Problems in Timor and Indonesia's reluctance to implement economic reform at times complicated Indonesia's relationship with donors. In 1992 the IGGI aid coordination group ceased to meet and the coordination activities were transferred to meetings arranged by the World Bank through the CGI. The CGI, in turn, ceased activities in 2007 when the Indonesian government suggested that an internationally-organised aid coordination program was no longer needed.
Indonesia has numerous outlying and remote islands, some of which are inhabited by numerous pirate groups that regularly attack ships in the Strait of Malacca in the north, and illegal fishing crews known for penetrating Australian and Filipino waters. While Indonesian waters itself is the target of many illegal fishing activities by numerous foreign vessels.
Indonesia has some present and historic territorial disputes with neighboring nations, such as:
- Ambalat Block in dispute with Malaysia (ongoing, overlapping EEZ line drawn by both countries)
- Ashmore and Cartier Islands in dispute with Australia (ongoing, the islands known by Indonesians as Pulau Pasir)
- Fatu Sinai Island (Pulau Batek) formerly disputed with East Timor (settled, East Timor ceded the island to Indonesia in August 2004)
- Miangas (Las Palmas) formerly disputed with Philippine Islands (settled, see Island of Palmas Case)
- Northern waters off Natuna Islands in dispute with China and Taiwan (ongoing; overlapping with Chinese Nine-Dash Line claim)
- Sipadan and Ligitan Islands formerly disputed with Malaysia (settled, part of Malaysia's territory per International Court of Justice's decision in 2002)
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Algeria||See Algeria–Indonesia relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1979.
|Egypt||1950||See Egypt–Indonesia relations
|Guinea-Bissau||12 December 1996||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on December 12, 1996.
|Kenya||See Indonesia–Kenya relations
|Liberia||1965||See Indonesia–Liberia relations
The diplomatic relations was officially established in 1965, however it was not until 2013 that both leaders of each countries visited each other's to further the co-operations.
|Madagascar||See Indonesia–Madagascar relations
|Morocco||See Indonesia–Morocco relations
|Nigeria||See Indonesia–Nigeria relations|
|South Africa||See Indonesia–South Africa relations|
|Tanzania||See Indonesia–Tanzania relations
|Tunisia||See Indonesia–Tunisia relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations on January 12, 1989.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Argentina||See Argentina–Indonesia relations
|Antigua and Barbuda||2011||
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 2011.
|Belize||11 July 2014||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 11 July 2014.
|Brazil||See Brazil–Indonesia relations
|Canada||See Canada–Indonesia relations
|Chile||See Chile–Indonesia relations
|Colombia||See Colombia–Indonesia relations
|Cuba||See Cuba–Indonesia relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 27 August 1999.
|Mexico||1953||See Indonesia–Mexico relations
Diplomatic relations between both nations were officially established in 1953.
|Peru||See Indonesia–Peru relations
|Suriname||See Indonesia–Suriname relations
|United States||See Indonesia–United States relations
The United States has important economic, commercial, and security interests in Indonesia. It remains a lynchpin of regional security due to its strategic location astride a number of key international maritime straits, particularly the Malacca Strait. Relations between Indonesia and the US are positive and have advanced since the election of President Yudhoyono in October 2004. The US played a role in Indonesian independence in the late 1940s and appreciated Indonesia's role as an anti-communist bulwark during the Cold War. Cooperative relations are maintained today, although no formal security treaties bind the two countries. The United States and Indonesia share the common goal of maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region and engaging in a dialogue on threats to regional security. Cooperation between the US and Indonesia on counter-terrorism has increased steadily since 2002, as terrorist attacks in Bali (October 2002 and October 2005), Jakarta (August 2003 and September 2004) and other regional locations demonstrated the presence of terrorist organisations, principally Jemaah Islamiyah, in Indonesia. The United States has welcomed Indonesia's contributions to regional security, especially its leading role in helping restore democracy in Cambodia and in mediating territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
|Venezuela||See Indonesia–Venezuela relations
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Azerbaijan||24 September 1992||See Azerbaijan-Indonesia relations
|Bangladesh||1972||See Bangladesh–Indonesia relations
|Brunei||See Brunei–Indonesia relations
|Cambodia||See Cambodia–Indonesia relations
In 1992, Indonesia is among the countries that provides troops for United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. Indonesia also supported Cambodia membership to ASEAN in 1999. Indonesia also among the countries that provide aid to Angkor restoration project, especially the three main gates of Angkor Royal Palace archaeological site near Phimeanakas site. Indonesia is also appointed as observer in Cambodian–Thai border dispute.
|China||13 April 1950||See China–Indonesia relations
|East Timor||See East Timor–Indonesia relations
|India||See India–Indonesia relations
|Iran||See Indonesia–Iran relations
|Iraq||See Indonesia–Iraq relations
|Israel||See Indonesia–Israel relations|
|Japan||See Indonesia–Japan relations
|Jordan||See Indonesia–Jordan relations
|Laos||1957||See Indonesia–Laos relations
Since established diplomatic relations in 1957, both countries enjoys cordial relations. Indonesia have an embassy in Vientiane, while Laos have an embassy in Jakarta. Indonesia supported and welcomed Laotian membership to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1997. Laos and Indonesia agreed to enhance relations to focus on exploring the potential of both countries to co-operate on trade and investment. The two countries expressed a desire to reach further agreements relating to security, tourism, sport, air transport and education. Indonesia through bilateral co-operation assist Laos on capacity building and development in various sectors, through scholarships and trainings for Laotian students.
|Malaysia||See Indonesia–Malaysia relations
|Myanmar||See Indonesia–Myanmar relations
|Nepal||See Indonesia–Nepal relations
Since diplomatic relations were established in 1960, both countries enjoy friendly and cordial relations, although both parties have not established embassies in each counterparts' capitals. Indonesia only established an honorary consulate in Kathmandu, while its embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is also accredited to Nepal. Nepal on the other hand accredited its embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, also to Indonesia. Both the countries have many cultural proximities and similar view on international issues. Both countries are also partners and founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
|North Korea||See Indonesia–North Korea relations
Indonesia is one of the very few countries that still maintain cordial relations with North Korea, despite international sanctions and isolation applied upon North Korea concerning its human rights abuses and nuclear missile program. Indonesia has adopted what it calls a "free-and-active" foreign policy, which allows it to be consistent in counting on both North and South Korea as friends.
Both countries share a relationship that dates back to the Sukarno and Kim Il-sung era in the 60s. Indonesia has an embassy in Pyongyang, while North Korea has an embassy in Jakarta. both countries are members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 28% of Indonesians view North Korea's influence positively, with 44% expressing a negative view. This shows a deterioration from previous year's poll where 42% of Indonesians view North Korea's influence positively, with 29% expressing a negative view.
|Pakistan||See Indonesia–Pakistan relations
|Palestine||See Indonesia–Palestine relations
|Philippines||See Indonesia–Philippines relations
|Singapore||See Indonesia–Singapore relations
|Saudi Arabia||See Indonesia–Saudi Arabia relations
|South Korea||See Indonesia–South Korea relations
|Sri Lanka||See Indonesia–Sri Lanka relations|
|Taiwan||See Indonesia–Taiwan relations
Indonesia and Taiwan (ROC) do not have diplomatic relations, both have only an unofficial relationship.
|Thailand||See Indonesia–Thailand relations|
|United Arab Emirates||See Indonesia–United Arab Emirates relations
|Vietnam||See Indonesia–Vietnam relations
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Armenia||22 September 1992|
|Austria||1954||See Austria–Indonesia relations
|Bulgaria||21 September 1956||See Bulgaria–Indonesia relations|
|Cyprus||4 December 1987|
|Denmark||See Denmark–Indonesia relations
|Estonia||See Estonia–Indonesia relations|
|France||See France–Indonesia relations
|Germany||See Germany–Indonesia relations
|Greece||1960||See Greece–Indonesia relations
|Holy See||See Holy See–Indonesia relations
|Hungary||1955||See Hungary–Indonesia relations|
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1983.
|Italy||See Indonesia–Italy relations
|Netherlands||See Indonesia–Netherlands relations|
|Portugal||See Indonesia–Portugal relations|
|Russia||See Indonesia–Russia relations
|Serbia||1954||See Indonesia–Serbia relations
Serbia has very close relations with Indonesia, especially within the fields of trade, culture and tourism. Indonesia has also voiced support for Serbia's territorial integrity over the Kosovo issue.
|Spain||See Indonesia–Spain relations
|Switzerland||See Indonesia–Switzerland relations
|Turkey||1571||See Indonesia–Turkey relations
|United Kingdom||1949||See Indonesia–United Kingdom relations
The United Kingdom and Indonesia have maintained strong links since formal relations were established in 1949. Indonesia has an embassy in London, the United Kingdom has an embassy in Jakarta and consulate in Surabaya and Medan.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry of Indonesia launched a campaign to boost the number of tourists from the UK entering Indonesia. In 2009, 160,000 British tourists visited Indonesia, the aim of the campaign was to boost this number to 200,000.
In 2006 former British prime-minister Tony Blair met with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono where they agreed upon "the establishment of a regular Indonesia-UK Partnership Forum to be chaired by the Foreign Ministers, to promote strategic dialogue on bilateral, multilateral and global issues". The first Indonesia-UK forum was held in 2007 and was chaired by British foreign minister Margaret Beckett and Indonesian foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda.
In March 2010 members of the House of Lords praised Indonesia for its progress in democratising society, media freedom and environmental protection. In a meeting with Indonesian MP Hayono Isman, the Lords stated that they wanted to improve the relationship between the two countries.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Australia||See Australia–Indonesia relations
Since Indonesian independence, the two countries have maintained mutual diplomatic relations, formalised co-operation (especially in the fields of fisheries conservation, law enforcement, and justice co-operation), a measure of security co-operation, broadening treaty relationships, co-membership of regional forums, and co-participation in several multilateral Treaties of significance. Trade between the two countries has grown over the years.
Recent years have seen a deepening of Australia's aid commitment to Indonesia, and Australia has become a popular venue for Indonesian students.
In 2008-09, Indonesia is the largest recipient of Australian aid at a value of AUD462 million.
|Fiji||See Indonesia–Fiji relations
|New Zealand||See Indonesia–New Zealand relations
Having common interests as democracies and neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand and Indonesia are viewed as natural partners. Both countries are members of APEC. Indonesia and New Zealand officially established diplomatic relations in 1958, the diplomatic and economic ties have grown stronger ever since. New Zealand has an embassy in Jakarta and Indonesia has an embassy in Wellington. Indonesia's commodity exports to New Zealand consist mainly of energy products and minerals as well as lumber and agriculture, while New Zealand's commodity exports to Indonesia mainly consist of dairy products and meats, such as beef, milk, and cheese.
|Papua New Guinea||See Indonesia–Papua New Guinea relations|
|Solomon Islands||See Indonesia–Solomon Islands relations
International organisation participation
- Cairns Group
- G20 developing nations
- G-20 major economies
- IOM (observer)
- MSG (associate member)
- Indonesia–United States relations
- Australia–Indonesia relations
- List of diplomatic missions in Indonesia
- List of diplomatic missions of Indonesia
- List of embassies in Jakarta
- List of Indonesian Ambassadors to Australia
- List of Indonesian Ambassadors to the United Kingdom
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