The principles of the foreign policy

The principles underlying Indonesia's foreign policy were expanded for the first time by Mohammed Hatta on September 2, 1948 at Yogyakarta in Central Java.

In a session of the Working Group of the Central National Committee of Indonesia (KNPI), the forerunner of the Indonesian Parliament, Vice President Hatta, concurrently Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of the young Republic, clarified the Government's stand on various domestic and international issues. Refuting the premise of the People's Democratic Front of the Indonesian Communist Party, that in the Cold War between Russia and America the best foreign policy for Indonesia would be to side with Russia, Hatta stated: "Do we, Indonesians, in the struggle for the freedom of our people and our country, only have to choose between Russia and America? Is not there any other stand that we can take in the pursuit of our ideals?"

"The Government is of the firm opinion that the best policy to adopt is one which does not make us the object of an international conflict. On the contrary, we must remain the subject who reserves the right to decide our own destiny and fight for our own goal, which is independence for the whole of Indonesia". (Mohammad Hatta, "Mendayung Antara Dua Karang" ("rowing between two reefs")


These principles are the foundation of Indonesia's foreign policy, which is both independent and active.

The policy is independent because Indonesia does not side with world powers. As a matter of principle, so doing would be incompatible with the country's national philosophy and identity as implied in Pancasila.

The foreign policy is active to the extent that Indonesia does not maintain a passive or reactive stand on international issues but seeks active participation in their settlement. In other words, Indonesia's independence and active policy is not a neutral policy, but it is one that does not align Indonesia with the super powers nor does it bind the country to any military pact. Essential it is a policy designed to serve the national interest while simultaneously allowing Indonesia to cooperate with other nations to abolish colonialism and imperialism in all their forms and manifestations for the sake of world peace and social justice. This explains why Indonesia was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.


Any country's foreign policy is a reflection of it's national aspirations vis-a-vis the rest of the world. It is a component of the country's geopolitical strategy. Based on these premises, the primary objectives of Indonesia's foreign policy are:

a. To support national development with priority on economic development, as set out in the Five-Year Development plans;

b. To preserve internal and regional stability conducive to national development;

c. To protect the territorial integrity of Indonesia and safeguard the people's place of abode.


The pursuit of the above objectives, Resolution No. II/MPR/1988 of the People's Consultative Assembly outlines Indonesia's foreign relations as follows:

a. Foreign relations shall be conducted on the basis of the independent and active foreign policy and dedicated to the national interest, especially to supporting national development in all spheres of life, and for the purpose of establishing a world order based on freedom, lasting peace and social justice, also establishing and the world forums.

b. International relations should aim to strengthen international and regional friendly relations and cooperation through various multilateral and regional channels, in accordance with the national interest and potentials. In this regard, the positive image of Indonesia abroad should be enhanced such as by image of Indonesia abroad should be enhanced such as by way of cultural activities.

c. Indonesia's role in settling international problems, particularly those threatening peace and contrary to justice and humanity, shall be continued and intensified in the spirit of the Ten Principles of Bandung.

d. Any international developments and changes shall be watched carefully in order that appropriate steps can be promptly taken to protect national stability and development from any possible negative impact. At the same time, international developments that provide opportunities to assist and speed up national development should be seized and fully exploited.

e. Indonesia's international role in promoting and strengthening friendly relations and mutually-beneficial cooperation among nations should be intensified. The country's effort to achieve national targets, such as the realization of the Archipelago Principle and expansion of its export markets, should be continued.

f. In order to help in the establishment of a New World Order, based on freedom, lasting peace and social justice, greater efforts should be made to strengthen solidarity and develop a common stand and cooperation among developing nations through various international organization, such as the United Nations, ASEAN, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Islamic Conference Organization, etc.

g. For the specific objective of building a new world economic order, steps should be continued with other developing nations, to speed up the realization of an international agreement on commodities, to remove trade barriers and restrictions imposed by industrial countries on the exports of developing countries, and to broaden economic and technical cooperation among developing countries. Efforts to establish a new information and communication order should also be continued.

h. Cooperation among the public and private sector of ASEAN member-countries should be intensified with a special emphasis on economic, social and cultural cooperation. This, in turn, would reinforce the national resilience of each member-country and the regional resilience of ASEAN, thus enhancing the common endeavor to build a Southeast Asian Zone of peace, freedom, neutrality and prosperity. Furthermore, greater cooperation should be fostered among the countries of the Southeast Asian and the Southwest Pacific regions.


During his third visit to Indonesia, in March 1993 Chancellor of the Republic of Germany Dr. Helmut Kohn and President Soeharto agreed to improve cooperation in the fields of the environment, science, technology, culture, human resources development, trade and investment and pledged commitment to improving relations between Southeast Asia and Europe.

President Soeharto submitted the NAM invitation for dialogues with the G7 (group of Seven) to the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa (the G7 Host), who had been given a mandate to receive the NAM Chairman from his fellow G7 leaders. The invitation was enclosed with various documents of the NAM's 10th Summit held in Jakarta in September 1992, a memorandum on a solution to developing countries debt problems and results of the recent meeting in Bali of the NAM's Standing Ministerial Committee in Economy. The documents also included suggestions on the completion of the Uruguay Round of free trade talks, eradication of protectionist measures in industrial countries, the improvement of commodity trade, the development of the monetary relationship between developing and industrial nations and the prospective fora that could be used for the North-South dialogues under the auspices of the United Nations.

During a five-day visit to Indonesia, (beginning on September 20, 1993), the first since becoming president of the Philippines a year ago, President Fidel Ramos proposed a modern partnership with a new meaning and substance. Two bilateral agreements, one on the avoidance of double taxation and another on the formation of a joint committee for cooperation between the two countries were signed. In Manado, he attended the Bunaken festival, a local cultural event and also witnessed the signing of an agreement to open direct postal links between Manado and Davao City, also the opening of air links between Davao and Bitung.

Indonesia has played an important role insetting the Cambodian conflict, the South China Sea territorial dispute, and also in mediating the conflict between Manila and the Moro separatist movement in the Philippines.

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Mrs. Janet Kataacha Musaveni and their entourage arrived in Jakarta on October 9, 1993 for a two-day visit, the first ever made by a Uganda president to Indonesia. During a state banquet to honor President Museveni, President Soeharto offered to assist Uganda in Family Planning, Agriculture, Health, and Education, the development areas in which Indonesia has been most successful. President Soeharto said Indonesia and Uganda should cooperate on various international issues in order to help create a world that is peaceful, and just, and to foster friendship that is mutually beneficial.

Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), arrived in Jakarta on September 24, 1993 for his 24-hour visit to Indonesia. This was the first time that Arafat visited Indonesia in his capacity as the Palestine president. President Arafat briefed President Soeharto about the series of agreements the PLO had signed with Israel, which allow for mutual recognition and for an autonomous Palestine in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank town of Jericho.

President Arafat discussed the PLO's future course of action and extended the Palestinian people's thanks for the support Indonesia has given to their struggle for an independent homeland. Indonesia donated 100 tons of rice and 50 cubic tons of instant noodles to aid the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Indonesia has also agreed to raise its permanent contribution to the UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) budget from US$8,000 to US$25,000 a year.

President Soeharto representing ASEAN member-countries addressed the opening of the fourth three-day Summit Meeting of the Group of 15 Developing Countries (G-15) held in New Delhi from March 28 to 30, 1994. The group, through its first three summits, has launched 18 cooperative projects in information systems, finance, agriculture, population control, science and technology.

Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers arrived on April 4, 1994 in Jakarta for a four-day state visit at the invitation of President Soeharto of Indonesia. This second trip of Mr. Lubbers to Jakarta marked the first high level encounter in Jakarta since Indonesia unilaterally ended all Dutch aid in 1992. During his stay in Indonesia, Mr. Lubbers met with President Soeharto to discuss the improvement and expansion of bilateral relations between the two nations. The current climate of international affairs has improved the importance of regional cooperation for both countries.

Visiting Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Siladjzic met President Soeharto at his residence on Jl. Cendana to garner support for the recently signed framework agreement between the Bosnian Prime Minister, his Croatian counterpart Mate Granic and Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak in Washington on March 1, 1994. The prime minister cited President Soeharto's support for the Washington agreement as very important not only because he represented Indonesia but the 110 nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as well. He also discussed the local situation in Bosnia with President Soeharto - the current NAM chairman - who assured him that he would do all he and Indonesia could do to help Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Suriname President Runaldo Ronald Venetian visited Indonesia from May, 11 to 14, 1994 at President Soeharto's invitation for talks on bilateral, regional and international matters. President Soeharto and the visiting Suriname President reached an agreement to enhance bilateral economic cooperation to further promote the South-South dialogues during their talks on various major issues prevailing in their respective country. The talks also covered the upcoming bilateral economic cooperation in agriculture, family planning, telecommunications, and transportation. On exchange of experts, Suriname expects Indonesia's technical assistance in mining some of their natural resources such as gold, granite, kaolin and other forestry resources and also expects cooperation in those sectors. Indonesia - Suriname relations are mostly traditional in nature, because more than 15% of the latter's 430,000 population are descended from Indonesia.

The government of Indonesia and Turkmenistan agreed to begin direct trade between the two countries. President Soeharto and his counterpart President Saparmurat Niyazov reached the agreement when the latter paid a four-day visit to Indonesia, signaling his intentions to learn from the success of the country's economic development. While Indonesia is interested in high grade cotton, sulfur and oil. To boost bilateral trade, officials from the two countries have signed two memorandums of agreement on economics and investment. President Niyazov was the first head of state from the former Soviet State to visit Indonesia.

To tighten the Indonesia-Vietnam bilateral relations, President Le Duc Anh of Vietnam visited Indonesia accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Manch Cam, Minister of Food and Agriculture Nguyen Cong Tan and Minister of Trade Le Van Triet. The issue of Galang, along with a boundary dispute in the South China Sea were discussed by the two presidents and their high ranking officials. They agreed to expedite the final drawing up of their common border in the South China Sea and repatriate some 8,000 Vietnamese boat people. Through Indonesian private channels, Indonesia-Vietnam economic relations have been developed.

President Soeharto of Indonesia in his capacity as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), welcomed the agreement reached between South and North Korea to hold a summit meeting on the nuclear issues to be held in Pyong Yang. He also welcomed the agreement to hold a meeting between the United States and North Korea and heiled endeavors made by former US President Jimmy Carter in his private capacity to help find a settlement to the nuclear problems between the two countries.

Indonesia and Singapore agreed to improve cooperation in air transportation, the tourist industry, the combating of forest fires and international fora. President Soeharto and Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in September1994 witnessed the signing of the agreements on air transportation and tourist industry cooperation by their cabinet members. Under the air transportation agreement, five Indonesian airlines are allowed to fly to Singapore from any place in Indonesia and to proceed in the world. Two Singaporean airlines currently serve 10 Indonesian cities. Under the agreement on cooperation in the tourist industry the two countries will launch joint promotion and marketing programs as well as develop a series of tourist projects.

Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived in Indonesia on October 13, 1994 to begin a three-day visit aimed at improving political and economic ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the country with the world's largest Moslem population. This is the second time Rafsanjani has visited Jakarta, the first being in 1992 for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. President Soeharto visited Teheran in November. The two leaders agreed to further study a proposal to use Iranese trade passageway between Indonesia and the countries in Central Asia. Several bilateral agreements on air and sea transportation and technical cooperation were currently being prepared.

To enhance the relationship between Indonesia and Australia, Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating visited Indonesia in June 1994 and opened a bilateral business forum and exhibition "Australia Today Indonesia 1994" in Jakarta.

(Source: INDONESIA 1995, An Official Handbook.)

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