Has Indonesia become a kind of gateway for Chinese trade routes and what is the geopolitical balance between India and Australia, which are also striving for influence in the Asia-Pacific region?
Indonesia will soon go to elections and one of the factors that will influence these elections will be the impact of the Jakarta-Beijing relations on the attitudes of voters as a foreign policy tool. According to polls conducted by Pew and similar organizations, Indonesia seems to have positive approaches to China. Some of the most important points that President Jokowi and his rival Prabowo Subianto emphasized during the campaign were the relations between China-Indonesia and the maritime power of Indonesia. However, the tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea, the militarization of the South China Sea, China’s overseas trade routes passing through the Indo-Pacific, increase of Chinese influence through the port of Gwadar in the Indian Ocean which is the strategic area of India, to causes various pacts to emerge in the region. The recent extensive naval exercise, conducted between Australia and India [AUSINDEX exercise], is an important message against the rapidly growing Chinese power through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue that includes Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. The exercise of rapprochement with submarines between India and Australia also shows that the cooperation between the two countries is at a very high level.
The USA relies on a close maritime cooperation network along China’s coasts, starting with South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The most effective way to stop a rising global rival for the U.S. will, of course, be to siege this rival through its allies in its own country and in its territory. However, among the countries, we have stated so far, Taiwan is the country in which China has the highest level of reaction. The main reason for this reaction is that China sees Taiwan as an integral part of the mainland. Recently, due to ongoing trade negotiations between the US and China, the sale of Taiwan F-16s Jets has also been on the agenda to help reduce tensions between the US and China. However, despite all the developments in the region, China continues to implement its global projects. Gradually increasing its influence in Latin America, aid to Venezuela and sending troops there, developing economic-strategic alliances with the European continent which is the best ally of the United States, It can be considered as an answer from China to the pacts made by the USA against itself in its region.
Afghanistan Taliban and Belt and Road Project
Afghanistan has a very high strategic importance for the Belt and Road Initiative which will connect Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. However, more than 40 years of war in Afghanistan are confronting China’s many projects with serious security threats in this region. The security of the Belt and Road Initiative route, expansion of the Chinese-Pakistani Economic Corridor (CPEC) project to the Afghan territory and $60 billion Chinese investments in Pakistan are facing these security threats. In order to protect its interests, China also has to make an agreement with the Taliban, which could affect almost all of Afghanistan. The stability of the Taliban is also very important in terms of the conditions that can affect the domestic policies of China, such as the Xinjiang region.
Turkey China and Uyghurs
The most important and strategic part of China’s efforts to connect Asia and Europe with the Belt and Road Initiative seems to be completed by eliminating the historical strategic bridge role of Turkey which connects to Asia and the European Continent. China has made a 25-year deal with Israel for the Port of Haifa–which is the third-largest port of Israel– within the scope of the Maritime Silk Road routes. She also signed a contract to build an $876m port in Ashdod on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Greece’s Piraeus Port on the doorstep of Turkey is witnessing a major revival with Chinese investments. The ports of Genoa and Trieste have now connected Beijing with Europe. In addition, China also connected Asia and Europe through Portugal now, in the future over the Arctic, and doing all projects without any need from Turkey. China’s giant project revitalizes some of the geopolitically important regions, while also eliminating the geopolitical importance of some of them. China has discovered different ways from land to maritime to enter the European continent without the need for Turkey. In addition, many harbors have geopolitical importance are being revived with Chinese investments in the immediate vicinity of Turkey. The benefits of the Baku Railway remain at a very modest level compared with the developments mentioned above. Additionally, the closure of China’s Izmir Consulate following the recent statements made by Foreign Affairs of Turkey on the Uyghur issue shows that relationships between China and Turkey have not yet reached a necessary level of stability.
Beijing’s long-term strategy for the new cooperation with Italy
The seizure of many overseas ports by China, which have strategic importance, causes serious concerns particularly to the United States and democratic countries such as the European Union. Many government officials and analysts argued that behind China’s acquisition of ports overseas there is preparation for future military operations, spying activities, and developing foreign operations skills of PLA. China is carrying out a project with a Trillion-dollar budget on a global basis and of course, it has to take security measures like all other states to protect the security of its interests. In this sense, Italy is the most important stage for the strategy of linking countries economically to Beijing and is the most important gateway to the European continent. Like many countries of Africa and Asia also the economic and strategic connection of Europe to Beijing is one of the basic requirements for China of being a global power.
China Market and European Investment
There have been major cases of corruption in China due to interconnected relations between the bureaucratic environment and the business world. In the anti-corruption campaigns that have been going on since 2012, many high-level government officials and executives of large companies were sentenced to money and prison sentences. President Xi Jinping still continues the anti-corruption campaign. These internal developments and strict controls on local companies may have a direct impact on investment laws and foreign investors.