1. News » 
  2. National » 
  3. Concerned China extends hand of friendship to Indonesia

Concerned China extends hand of friendship to Indonesia

New Delhi, June 8: A bit concerned perhaps with Indonesia's reported decision of tripling the size of its submarine fleet, inching closer to signing a contract with France to buy Rafales - besides keeping all options to join an emerging maritime coalition of the Indo-Pacific Quad open - Beijing is now going all out to woo Jakarta by offering it loads of goodies.

Updated Jun 08, 2021 08:54 AM

Concerned China extends hand of friendship to Indonesia

In the inaugural meeting of the China-Indonesia high-level dialogue cooperation mechanism held in Guiyang City on Saturday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Indonesian President's special envoy and the country's Coordinator for Cooperation with China, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, that the two countries should leverage the new mechanism, and expand their cooperation into the maritime sector in addition to politics, economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Indonesia, a key player in the Indo-Pacific region because of its strategic location and proximity to the global sea trade routes, has time and again taken on the intimidation from China in the South China Sea. The Natuna Islands, part of the Indonesian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and which China states it has sovereignty over, has become a hotbed of conflict in the region with Indonesia, till as recently as January this year, deploying fighter jets and warships to protect its territory.

All this while even as its Navy escorted fishing boats to engage in illegal fishing operations inside the Indonesian EEZ, China kept on insisting that the both countries don't have disputes over territorial sovereignty but just overlapping claims of maritime rights and interests in some areas in the South China Sea.

The quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, and its shared vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific, finally made Beijing realise that it has to handle the Indonesian archipelago smartly. Indonesia is not only the largest economy in Southeast Asia but also a major player in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

On Saturday, Wang Yi said that China and Indonesia are both major developing countries and emerging economies, and both sides share broad common interests and a promising future.

"China-Indonesia high-level dialogue cooperation mechanism aims to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, integrate and upgrade existing dialogue cooperation channels, create new platforms and instill new impetus for bilateral all-round cooperation," he was quoted as saying by the Chinese foreign ministry.

China said that the two sides have reached five important consensuses:

First, consolidate strategic solidarity to build a community with a shared future. In the face of great changes and once-in-a-century pandemic, the two sides will strengthen political mutual trust and keep closer strategic communication.

Second, deepen cooperation on Covid-19 vaccines and health care, advocate greater accessibility and affordability of vaccines, resist "vaccine nationalism", prevent the "vaccine divide", and work together to promote fair and reasonable distribution of vaccines worldwide.

Third, work together to upgrade the cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The two sides will further align the BRI and the vision of Global Maritime Axis to ensure the completion of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway as scheduled and set a benchmark for the first phase of the projects jointly built by the two countries under BRI. They will also work for early harvest of the "Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridor" and unleash the effectiveness of the second-phase cooperation under the BRI.

Fourth, expand maritime cooperation. The new Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Cooperation between China and Indonesia lists speeding up consultations on the 'code of conduct' in the South China Sea to make cooperation the main theme of the situation in the South China Sea.

Fifth, enrich cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The two sides will overcome the obstacles of the pandemic, innovate interactive models and carry forward the traditional friendship between China and Indonesia.

Heavily dependent on China for Covid vaccines - Sinovac has the maximum share in Indonesia's 92.2 million doses - Jakarta seems to be treading cautiously so far.

Retno Marsudi, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, met her Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Chongqing today.

"Good meeting with State Councillor/Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China in Chongqing... China is an important partner of #ASEAN... We discussed various sectors of cooperation, from vaccine and health to green economy and development cooperation. We also spoke on regional peace and stability, including South China Sea and Myanmar," Marsudi tweeted Monday afternoon.

India, and the rest of the Quad grouping, will be watching the developments closely.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always underlined the fact that Indonesia is an important maritime partner in India's extended neighbourhood, and the strength of the bilateral relationship would also help both countries in fighting the effects of the pandemic.

Japan's growing partnership with Indonesia would have also rattled China.

For the first time since 2015, both Japan and Indonesia held a Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting, the only '2+2' framework in Southeast Asia, on March 30.

While expressing "serious concerns" about China's recent developments in the region and the situations in the East China Sea and South China Sea, Japanese Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo had expressed his intention to further promote the relationship with Indonesia in order to uphold and strengthen free and open maritime order. The both sides had also welcomed the signing of the agreement concerning the transfer of defence equipment and technology.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-Media