Long-term external security threats from Indonesia’s perspective - part 2: Australia and ASEAN stability

International relations National security Strategic interests International cooperation Indonesia Australia Southeast Asia

Most of Indonesia’s current security concerns do not stem from traditional sources of geopolitical conflict, but rather internal instability caused by terrorism, separatism and ethnic and religious conflict. In the long term, however, that may change. This paper is the second part of a series that looks at some of the possible concerns from Indonesia’s perspective of threats to its security that may arise in the long-term future.

Key points:

  • Some Indonesian officials are suspicious of Australia’s strategic goals in the region based on past actions that opposed Jakarta’s interests.
  • The unlikely possibility that Australia will support an independent West Papua may become a cause for concern if international focus on the independence movement continues to grow.
  • Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, rapidly-increasing tensions and the possibility of a Cold War between China and the United States could cause divisions between South-East Asian countries.
  • ASEAN members appear more likely to maintain loose bonds to the organisation rather than integrate more closely in the long-term future, meaning that divisions caused by external pressures could become a catalyst for issues such as regional boundary disputes to escalate.
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