Delicate Equilibrium: Indonesia’s Approach to the South China Sea

  • Prashanth ParameswaranEmail author
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)


While China’s more assertive posture in the South China Sea over the past few years has led to an increasing focus on the responses by claimant states, less attention has been given to Indonesia’s evolving position as an interested party. That is unfortunate given Jakarta’s influential role as a global middle power, a leader in ASEAN, and its willingness to act as an ‘honest broker’ in the South China Sea disputes. This chapter aims to clarify Indonesia’s approach to the South China Sea issue, focusing particularly on the period from 1990 onwards. This chapter argues that in spite of some adjustments after recent trends—including increased Chinese assertiveness—Indonesia’s approach has remained largely unchanged. Indonesia continues to stick to what I term a “delicate equilibrium” approach on the South China Sea issue, pursuing a hedging strategy comprised of four elements: engagement, enmeshment, traditional balancing and soft-balancing.


Indonesia South China Sea policy Natuna Islands bebas aktif Sino-Indonesian relations China-Indonesia relations Pertamina 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington, DCUSA

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