Threats or Opportunities: Indonesian Elites’ Perception of a Rising China


About the Seminar

The question of whether China would rise peacefully cannot be completely addressed without taking into account the strategic responses of other major powers to the People’s Republic of China’s growing capability and prominence. This seminar seeks to explore the ways that Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous state as well as Southeast Asia’s largest country, is responding to a rising China. Previous scholarly works on Indonesia–China relations have emphasized the important roles of perceptions in shaping the former’s policy towards the latter. Most of them, nevertheless, have merely explored how Indonesians perceive the rising power in a less systematic manner. This seminar will present the findings of a systematic investigation into how Indonesian diplomats and prominent foreign policy scholars perceive China, informed by the image theory in International Relations. It will primarily outline how these Indonesian elites describe Beijing’s motives behind the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and its manoeuvring in the South China Sea Disputes. The findings suggest that while perceptions of China are far from being uniformed, perceiving China as presenting a moderate degree of threats rather than opportunities is a more dominant trend among the elites. This research also finds that Indonesians are perceptually more sophisticated in viewing China.

About the Speaker

Ardhitya Eduard Yeremia Lalisang is a faculty member of the Department of International Relations, University of Indonesia. He has just completed his doctoral studies at the School of International Relations, Research School of Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University. His research interests include China’s foreign policy, China–Southeast Asia relations, and Indonesia–China people-to-people exchanges.

For registration, please click on this link. Registration closes on 19 February 2020.


Feb 21 2020


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2