China's Top Diplomat Meets with Indonesian Leaders to Boost Regional Ties

China's diplomatic push in Southeast Asia: Chinese FM Wang Yi meets Indonesian leaders, strengthens ties, discusses South China Sea, amid rising regional tensions.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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China's Top Diplomat Meets with Indonesian Leaders to Boost Regional Ties

China's Top Diplomat Meets with Indonesian Leaders to Boost Regional Ties

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President-elect Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta on April 18, 2024, as part of China's efforts to strengthen its diplomatic outreach and influence in Southeast Asia. The meetings focused on deepening the China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership, including enhancing political trust, practical cooperation, and coordination on regional and global affairs.

During his meeting with President Widodo, Wang Yi conveyed greetings from Chinese President Xi Jinping and congratulated Widodo on his successful re-election. Widodo expressed Indonesia's commitment to the one-China policy and a desire to increase trade, investment, and high-speed rail cooperation with China. The two leaders also discussed potential joint military drills, training cooperation, and regional peace and stability, particularly regarding the situation in Gaza.

Wang Yi's visit to Jakarta comes after Prabowo Subianto's recent trip to Beijing, where President Xi praised relations with Indonesia and laid out a vision for regional peace amid tensions with other Southeast Asian countries over the disputed South China Sea. Prabowo has voiced support for developing closer ties with Beijing, and during his meeting with Wang, the two leaders explored avenues for advancing strategic cooperation between their nations.

China is a major investor in Indonesia, having poured billions into projects in the country, including the construction of Southeast Asia's first high-speed rail line. Indonesia maintains a neutral foreign policy, balancing its relations between China and the United States, who are at odds over various geopolitical issues.

In a separate meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Wang Yi stressed Beijing's willingness to accelerate talks on creating a Code of Conduct to avoid maritime conflicts in the South China Sea, where China has territorial disputes with Indonesia and other ASEAN members. The two ministers also agreed to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation, focusing on areas like the downstreaming industry, renewable energy, food security, infrastructure, and information technology.

During his visit, Wang Yi reiterated China's commitment to supporting Indonesian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and encouraged the continuation of reciprocal support for each other's core interests. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi affirmed Indonesia's commitment to the one-China policy and expressed enthusiasm for strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Wang Yi's tour of Southeast Asia comes after a recent summit between the leaders of the United States, Japan, and the Philippines, where they agreed to strengthen maritime security cooperation in the South China Sea amid rising tensions. Some observers suggest that China could be trying to drive a wedge between the Philippines and other ASEAN members through its diplomatic outreach in the region.

In conclusion, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's meetings with Indonesian leaders President Joko Widodo, President-elect Prabowo Subianto, and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi highlight China's efforts to boost its regional influence and strengthen ties with Southeast Asian nations. The discussions focused on deepening the China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership, accelerating talks on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, and enhancing bilateral economic cooperation. As China continues its diplomatic outreach in the region, it remains to be seen how other Southeast Asian countries and major powers like the United States will respond to Beijing's growing influence.

Key Takeaways

  • China's FM Wang Yi met Indonesian leaders to deepen strategic partnership.
  • Discussions focused on political trust, cooperation, and regional stability.
  • China and Indonesia agreed to accelerate talks on South China Sea COC.
  • China pledged support for Indonesia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • China's regional outreach amid US-led maritime security cooperation in the area.