Malaysia Dateline

Does China understand the importance of Indonesia in the Indo Pacific arena?

1. China is a continental empire. It has a large hinter land. But two of its longest rivers come from Yang Tze River and Yellow River, whose source of waters originate from the top of the Himalaya.

2. Unless China can have a full control of the Himalaya, by subjugating India, Nepal and Bhuttan, in addition to any other countries that understand the sources of what Professor Brahma Chellaney called “Hydro Politics,” China remains vulnerable to the water levels from the Himalaya.

3. The two rivers, assuming they don’t over flow, provide up to 3/4 of the needs of the population of China that are populated next to the Yang Tse and Yellow River. That, in the main, implies that China is a continental empire that has to reach out to the rest of the world, especially via South China Sea, the North Natuna Sea that belongs to Indonesia, and the Straits of Malacca that are under the jurisdiction of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

4. The vast sea front, and the maritime terrains, are massive. The three oceans, or, seas, are now officially inter-connected. Under the the Association of Southeast Asia Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP), a document was formalized to acknowledge Indian Ocean and South China Sea as a contiguous area. Together with the Straits of Malacca, the two oceans are connected.

5. Indonesia sits aside the Indian Ocean, the Straits of Malacca, the North Natuna Sea, and the parts of the West Pacific Sea. Indonesia, not surprisingly, is the sixth largest maritime power in the world if not the largest maritime juggernaut in Indo Pacific area. It stretches from Aceh to Manado.

6. On its own, Indonesia is number six in size in terms of the Economic Economic Zones (EEZ), just behind France, United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Russia. The major time powers next to Indonesia are Australia and Japan respectively.

7. If China does not respect the wing span and the geographical weight and strategic depth of Indonesia, Beijing would be committing a big blunder.

8. On its own, China is only number 33 in the league of those countries with exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Indonesia is number six, and in due course, plans to have a blue ocean strategy to match that of the power projection abilities of China in South China Sea.

9. Indonesia, while reeling from the Indonesian exposure to SARS Cov II, which has led to tens of thousands of cases in Covid 19, Jakarta remains standing. There is no rush on the Indonesian rupiah.

10. If China wants to understand the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific areas, which extents to the 14 islands in the Pacific, adjacent to Australia and New Zealand, China must first acknowledge the role of Indonesia as the strategic gate keeper of the Indo-Pacific Command, potentially with the backing of the of the “Quads,” formed of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India.