DOUBLE HEDGE DIPLOMACY: DIPLOMATIC OPTION FOR RESOLVING INDONESIA – CHINA FRICTION IN THE NATUNA ISLANDS

Aremu Sherif Owoyale

Abstract


The diplomatic strategy option open to Indonesia in response to escalating friction between Indonesia and China over possession of the Natuna Islands is highlighted in this article. The paper employed a qualitative research approach that utilized secondary data sources. The finding shows that intensifying competition among big power nations such as the United States and China facilitates this diplomacy strategy choice (hedging). Several countries have embraced this diplomatic tactic, known as double 'hedged' diplomacy, as a means of balancing and stabilizing the influence of powers in their territories. Hedging allows some leeway for nations to discover a balance between priority gains and inevitable costs, albeit it is far from ideal. The study shows that Indonesia could enhance its sovereignty by accommodating the interests of China and those of other major power nations like the United States on the Natuna Waters by balancing China's assertiveness with the investment interest of the United States. The paper conceptualized ‘hedging’ as strategic diplomacy options adopted by nations seeking a balance of influence; while using a balance of power theory to analyze the situation, actors and processes as it affects the concerns of Indonesia on Natuna waters. Indonesia engagement in numerous naval cooperation with regional and international partners, as well as her maritime force presence in the Natuna waters, is a critical tool to project her defence diplomacy. As a result, this study suggests that Indonesia could take a double-hedged diplomatic approach to resolving the escalating tensions between Indonesia and China on Natuna Island. Consequently, there is the need to design ways of balancing China's growing aggressiveness with the existence and interests of another large power nation like the United States on the Natuna waters.


Keywords


Hedging; Double-hedge diplomacy; Balance of power; Non-Alignment; Natuna Islands.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.33172/jdp.v8i2.1003

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