Thursday, January 17, 2008

The growing influence of China and Russia in Indonesia

The influence of China and Russia in South East Asia is growing, as US influence appears to be on the decline.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a mutual-security organization founded in 2001, has China and Russia as its main members.

China and Indonesia plan to expand military ties and cooperate in manufacturing defense equipment. ( Indonesia and China expand defense ties)

China's imports of Southeast Asian goods, from 1997 to 2006, rose 674%. China now probably buys more from Southeast Asia than from the US.

China and the Philippines signed 20 economic agreements in January 2007. (China's Soft Power)

According to an article in Asia Times, by Bill Guerin, the United States, China and Russia are all competing for influence in Southeast Asia. (Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news - Indonesia-Russia: Arms ...)

Indonesia has made agreements with Russia, which include arms, energy and trade deals.

Indonesia and Russia have an agreement to develop stronger military cooperation.

In recent decades, Indonesia got most of its armaments from the US and Europe.

In 1991, public reaction to Indonesian massacres in East Timor forced the US to impose restrictions on arms sales.

In 1997 Indonesia was hit by a financial crisis and Russia began to negotiate with Indonesia about selling armaments that were cheaper than those supplied by the US.

In 1998 Suharto was toppled, reportedly by the CIA and its friends in the indonesian military.

In 1999, the US again reduced military cooperation with Indonesia, after Indonesia-backed militias and security forces killed thousands of people in East Timor, after the 1999 vote for independence from Indonesia.

In 2002, bombs went off in Bali and many Indonesians blamed the CIA and its friends in the Indonesian military and police. However, Indonesia's President Megawati, thought to be tool of certain generals, was happy to receive aid from the US to help in the fight against 'terrorism'.

In 2003, the US invaded Iraq. Indonesia, the world's biggest Moslem nation, was not happy.

In 2003, Moscow arranged for Indonesia to receive fighter jet, armoured personnel carriers and assault helicopters.

In 2005, the US lifted its arms embargo on Indonesia, but the Indonesian generals were not keen to buy expensive American equipment. (Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news - Indonesia-Russia: Arms ...)

In 2006, Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said that the Russian deal would wean Indonesia from its historical dependence on US military products.

At the same time, China began supplying Indonesia with short-range missile technology. (Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news - Indonesia-Russia: Arms ...)

Indonesia is strategically very important:

1. It has oil and gas

2. It guards important sea lanes which take Middle East oil to China.

3. It has a large military

In 2006, President George W Bush visited Indonesia and there were angry protests across the country.

Indonesia, like Iran, has nuclear ambitions, and has shown an interest in Russian nuclear technology. (Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news - Indonesia-Russia: Arms ... )

Russian companies are now taking an interest in oil and gas projects in Indonesia.
Texaco, ExxonMobil, Unocal and Conoco will not be happy.

Expect the spies to be busy in Indonesia?


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