Just two weeks before the election started, many foreign journalists and diplomats asked me about the future of Indonesian foreign policy after 2024. Will there be continuity or change in Indonesian foreign policy? Will Indonesia remain non-aligned amidst the fiercer great power’s rivalry between United States and China? Will Indonesia continue to draw closer toward China or will it become more assertive especially in responding to the heightening tension in South China Sea? What will Indonesia’s policy toward ASEAN?
In essence, many are anxious about the way the new leadership will guide the country’s foreign policy. President Joko Widodo started his administration in 2014 with very low appetite toward foreign policy as it is widely known to the public that this is not his strength. Nonetheless, in his second term, many spectators have seen a change—driving the country’s ‘activism’ in ASEAN, particularly in dealing with Myanmar issue as well as undertaking the ASEAN chairmanship, seeking to become an interlocutor in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and hosting the G20 Summit amidst the tension between the Western countries against Russia.