Aremu Sherif Owoyale


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.


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


Antonio, F., and Andrea P. (2015). Hedging in search of a new age of non-alignment: Myanmar between China and the USA. The Pacific Review 28(5): 679–702.

Chan, L. (2020). Strategic hedging: a ‘third way’ for Australian foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific. Asia Policy 15(3): 87–112.

Ciorciari, J.D. (2019). The variable effectiveness of hedging strategies. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 19(3): 523–555.

Ciorciari, J.D., and Haacke. J. (2019). Hedging in international relations: an introduction. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 19(3): 367–374.

Crompton, P. (1997). Hedging in academic writing: some theoretical problems. English for Specific Purposes 16(4): 271–287.

Darusman, Y.M., Fauziah, A. and Sumarna, B.D. (2020), The Study of Natuna Island Dispute Between Indonesia and China, Based on UNCLOS 1982. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 499. 2nd International Conference on Law, Governance and Social Justice

Goh, E (2005) The US–China relationship and Asia-Pacific security: negotiating change. Asian Security 1(3): 216–244.doi:10.1080/14799850500341916

Goh, E. (2005). Meeting the China challenge: the U.S. in Southeast Asian regional security strategies. Policy Studies, No. 16. Washington, D.C.: East-West Center. Accessed 6 Jan 2006.

Goh, E. (2007) ‘Southeast Asian Perspectives on the China Challenge’, Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 30 Issue 4 , p. 825.

Green, M.J. (1999). Managing Chinese power: the view from Japan. In Engaging China: the management of an emerging power, ed. Alastair Iain Johnston, and Robert S. Ross, 152–175. New York: Routledge.

Jackson, V. (2014). Power, trust, and network complex: three logics of hedging in Asian security. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 14(3): 331–356.

James, M. & Amilia, R. (2020). Natuna: an idyll on the front line between Indonesia and China. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Johnston, A.I., and Robert S. R. (eds.). (1999). Engaging China: the management of an emerging power. New York: Routledge.

Jones, D.M., and Nicole J. (2021). Hedging and grand strategy in Southeast Asian foreign policy. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific.

Koga, K.. (2018). The concept of ‚hedging‛ revisited: the case of Japan’s foreign policy strategy in East Asia’s power shift. International Studies Review 20(4): 633–660.

Korolev, A. (2019). Shrinking room for hedging: system-unit dynamics and behaviour of smaller powers. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 19(3): 419–452.

Kuik C. (2020). Hedging in post-pandemic Asia: what, how, and why? The Asan Forum. June 6, 2020. Accessed 6 June 2020.

Kuik, C. (2008). The essence of hedging: Malaysia and Singapore’s response to a rising China. Contemporary Southeast Asia 30(2): 159–185.

Kuik, C. (2016a). How do weaker states hedge? Unpacking ASEAN States’ alignment behaviour towards China. Journal of Contemporary China 25(100): 500–514.

Kuik, C. (2016b). Malaysia between America and China: what do weaker states hedge against? Asian Politics & Policy 8(1): 115–177.

Kuik, C. (2021a). The twin chessboards of U.S.–China rivalry: impact on the geostrategic supply and demand in post-pandemic Asia. Asian Perspective 45(1): 157–176.

Kuik, C. (2021b). Southeast Asian states and ASEAN: a centre of courtships and cooperation. In The International Relations of Asia, 3rd ed., ed. David Shambaugh. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield (Forthcoming).

Kurlantzik, J. (2007). Charm offensive: how China’s soft power is transforming the world. Binghamton: Yale University Press.

Lake D. (1996). ‚Anarchy, Hierarchy, and the Variety of International Relations.‛ International Organization 50 (1): 1–33.

Lee, H.L. (2020). The endangered Asian century: America, China, and the perils of confrontation. Foreign Affairs 99(4): 51–64.

Liao, J.C., and Ngoc-Tram D. (2019). The nexus of security and economic hedging: Vietnam’s strategic response to Japan-China infrastructure financing competition. The Pacific Review.

Lim, D. J., and Zack C. (2015). Reassessing hedging: the logic of alignment in East Asia. Security Studies 24(4): 696–727.

Lim, D.J., and Rohan M. (2019). Hedging in South Asia: balancing economic and security interests amid Sino-Indian competition. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 19(3): 493–522.

Medeiros, E. S. (2005). Strategic hedging and the future of Asia-Pacific stability. The Washington Quarterly 29(1): 145–167.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. (2021). Statement on Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines program. September 17, 2021.

Morton, K. (2016). China’s ambition in the South China Sea: Is a legitimate maritime order possible? International Affairs, 92(4), 909–940

Murphy, A.M. (2017). Great power rivalries, domestic politics and Southeast Asian foreign policy: exploring the linkages. Asian Security 13(3): 165–182.

New Straits Times. (2021). Malaysia concerned with trilateral AUKUS security pact. September 18, 2021.

Pitakdumrongkit, K. (2020). What causes changes in international governance details? An economic security perspective. Review of International Political Economy.

Putri, H. & Salim, W. (2020), The Maritime Silk Road’s potential effects on outer island development: The Natuna Islands, Indonesia. Island Studies Journal 15(2):155-172. DOI:10.24043/isj.136

Rozman, G. (ed.). (2015). Light or heavy hedging: positioning between China and the United States. In Joint U.S.–Korea Academic Studies 2015, 1–73. Washington, DC: Korea Economic Institute of America.

Schweller, R. L. (1994). Band wagoning for profit: bringing the revisionist state back in. International Security 19(1): 72–107.

Shambaugh D. (2007). ‚China and the US: To Hedge or Engage.‛ YaleGlobal Online. April 11, 2007.

Shambaugh, D. (2020). Where great powers meet: America and China in Southeast Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sukadis, B. (2021), Protecting Indonesia’s Sovereignty in the North Natuna Sea.

Tan, S. S. (2020). Consigned to hedge? Southeast Asia and America’s ‚free and open Indo-Pacific‛ strategy. International Affairs 96(1): 131–148.

Teo, A. G., and Kei K. (2021). Conceptualizing equidistant diplomacy in international relations: the case of Singapore. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific.

Tessman, B. (2012). System structure and state strategy: adding hedging to the menu. Security Studies 21(2): 192–231.

Tunsjo, O. (2013). Security and profit in China’s energy policy: hedging against risk. New York: Columbia University Press.

VOI (2021). The Roots of the China-Indonesia Conflict In Natuna Waters.

Walt, S. M. (1985). Alliance formation and the balance of world power. International Security 9(4): 3–43.

Waltz, K. (1979) ‘Theory of International Politics’, Addison-Wesley Publishing,

Wang, D. (2018). Hedging in international relations: the case of the Asia Pacific countries World Economics and Politics 10: 21–49.

Yoshinaka, A., and Christian R. G. (2011). Ideological hedging in uncertain times: inconsistent legislative representation and voter enfranchisement. British Journal of Political Science 41(4): 765–794.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Ethics in Publishing

Publishing ethics refers to COPE (Commitee on Publication Ethics) and Regulation of the Head of LIPI Number 5 of 2014 concerning the Code of Ethics for Scientific Publications.

This statement outlines the ethical behavior expected of all parties. The parties are related and obedient in their respective positions and roles: authors, editorial board, peer reviewers, and publishers, who are involved in publishing articles in this journal.

Authors create articles. Authors should read the policies that apply to their contributions and the author's guidelines. Once a submission has reached the review stage, authors are not allowed to withdraw it. The author accepts editorial decisions voluntarily.

Editorial Board
The editor consists of the chief editor and staff as a unit. Editors grade manuscripts on intellectual merit alone, regardless of the author's rank, title, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or political philosophy. Corresponding authors, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and publishers, as appropriate, are the only parties to whom any editor and editorial staff may divulge information about manuscripts that have been submitted. The editor chooses which article to publish. When reaching a choice, the editor can consult with other editors or reviewers.

Peer Reviewers

Peer review provides an assessment of the articles submitted by the editor. The reviewer's assessment results assist the editor in editing the assessment and can also help the author improve the article through the editorial communication with the author. Any selected reviewer who believes they lack the skills necessary to evaluate a manuscript or realizes that doing so quickly is impossible should notify the editor and withdraw from the review process. The review must be carried out impartially. It would be inappropriate to criticize the author personally. Referees must clearly state their position and provide evidence to support them. Any manuscript sent to you for review should be treated with confidentiality. They cannot be discussed or shown to anyone without the editor's permission. Reviewers must indicate related published work that the author still needs to cite. Suitable quotations must support any claim that specific observations, deductions, or arguments have been recorded. Any significant overlap or resemblance between the manuscript under consideration and other published material of which the reviewer has direct knowledge must be communicated to the editor.


The publisher is the institution that publishes the journal. Universitas Pertahanan Press under the Universitas Pertahanan Republik Indonesia, publisher of this Journal of Defense Diplomacy. Moral and ethical obligations as publishers are aware of and take their duties and responsibilities seriously during and throughout the publication process. For publishing journals, publishers work closely with editorial boards to facilitate communication with other journals and publishers.

Alamat Dewan Redaksi:
Alamat: Jl. Salemba Raya No.14, RT.3/RW.6, Kenari, Kec. Senen,
Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10430

Creative Commons License
Jurnal Diplomasi Pertahanan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

 View My StatCounter