JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Geopolitical shifts have moved at an unprecedented rate since the election of the United States’ (US) President Donald Trump in 2016.
Numerous economic and trade policies tilting further away from multilateralism and more inward-looking by the US has led to vast opportunities for China to spread its influence.
China’s Belt & Road Initiative sparked uproar among European governments concerned about China’s rising power in the West.
The West toiled over fears on democracy and free-market mechanisms with China’s growing prowess, but countries in Asia have welcomed the economic giant with open arms.
China has poured in substantial investments in emerging markets including Indonesia which has sparked problems with Asia’s leading investor, Japan.
Although China was missing as a top foreign investor in Indonesia prior to 2016, it has swiftly climbed up the ranking and is comfortably positioned near Japan and Singapore at the top.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Panjaitan explained Indonesia’s openness to working with China is because of the country’s free and active foreign policy.
The longstanding foreign policy encourages Indonesia to build positive relations with all countries which in turn supports Indonesia’s global position.
Indonesia is striving to develop its industry through stronger relations with China as it seeks to move up the global value chain.
The government’s plans have thus led to increased activities with China including the presence of more Chinese workers such as the 500 hired by two Indonesia-based nickel mining companies.