24 March 2015
TOKYO — In comments likely to irk China, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo highlighted that most of Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea have no international legal basis, as he outlined Jakarta’s desire to act as a honest broker in resolving territorial claims in the disputed waters.
In another surprising announcement, Indonesia said it is keen to host the nascent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), putting it in direct competition with Beijing who wants the role for itself. Coming days before Mr Widodo’s visit to Beijing later this week, this will pose a challenge as he seeks a formula to manage China’s growing geopolitical clout and at the same time promote economic ties.
In an interview with Yomiuri newspaper published in Japanese on Sunday, Mr Widodo took a position on the overlapping claims for what is believed to be the first time since coming to power in October, rejecting China’s claims in the South China Sea.
…“While the rise of Mr Widodo reflects a more nationalistic Indonesia, this does not mean a swing towards the adventurism of the Sukarno years,” Mr Yang Razali Kassim, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, pointed out to TODAY. “The expression of interest to host the AIIB was more a bid rather than a serious show of any ambition.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 24/03/2015