Hence, there is an urgent need for the development of a more robust regional structure in which China’s overwhelming power can be harnessed more peacefully and productively within an East Asian community.
Thus, while trying to integrate China into the evolving regional architecture, Indonesia has opposed the formation of a regional institution in which China’s power would outweigh that of other members.
Through the rebalancing policy, Washington is seen as trying to recapture lost ground, as well as reaffirming to allies, friends, and adversaries alike that the United States is a Pacific power with inalienable strategic interests and rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Bush administration, China transformed its relations with countries in Southeast Asia and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Within this strategy, Southeast Asia is considered to be a subregion of particular interest. Through a well-conceived charm offensive, which began in the late 1990s when it provided assistance to countries suffering from the Asian financial crisis, China assiduously courted ASEAN and improved bilateral relations with key members.
President Yudhoyono first proposed in November 2008 that Jakarta and Washington sign a comprehensive partnership to broaden and deepen relations between the two countries, which was quickly endorsed by the new Obama administration. rebalancing toward Asia, some in Indonesia have raised concerns that Washington has placed too much emphasis on the military dimension of this strategy.
The Comprehensive Partnership Agreement was signed during President Obama’s first visit to Indonesia in November 2010, which probably marked the highest point in bilateral relations. The announcement of the rotational basing of 2,500 U. marines in Darwin, Australia, was initially met with sharp criticism from the Indonesian foreign minister, who feared that such a move could lead to counterreaction and the heightening of regional tension.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono argues that Indonesia’s foreign policy is characterized by the pursuit of “one million friends, zero enemies,” and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa supports a “dynamic equilibrium” among the major powers, particularly in a regional context.
Whereas the traditional concept of balance of power is conflictual in nature, the concept of dynamic equilibrium envisages a more cooperative system of relations between powers without any clear-cut adversaries.
When the EAS was first proposed in 2005, a number of ASEAN members and China envisaged that it would be the formalization of the ASEAN 3 with an additional noneconomic agenda.
Indonesia, however, was concerned that in such a regional setting China would be able to dictate the summit’s agenda, and therefore Jakarta argued for enlarging the EAS’s membership by expanding the strategic boundary of East Asia to include India, Australia, and New Zealand.