Indonesia, A Likely World Power

Indonesia, A Likely World Power
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As the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and third-largest democracy, Indonesia should get a permanent seat at the reformed UN Security Council (UNSC), Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

With the US and China recently expressing support for India to get a seat, Marty said Monday that the Indonesian government would certainly not drop its efforts to get a seat in the UNSC, arguing that “there is still room” for both Asian countries, while reform at the UNSC was still underway.

While Indonesia does not have support from major powers, no countries have expressed objections to Southeast Asia’s largest economy becoming a permanent member of the UNSC, he said.

“If you are keen to ensure the Security Council is more representative, I can’t think of no better way than seeing Indonesia — a country that is comfortably promoting development and progress — become a permanent member,” Marty told The Jakarta Post at his office.

He said should Indonesia be excluded from the UNSC, the world would be at a disadvantage.

Marty said Indonesia’s capabilities had been tested through time after serving in the UNSC three times as a non-permanent member. Indonesia was a non-permanent member of the UNSC in 1973-1974, 1995-1996 and 2007-2008.

Indonesia takes up the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2011, with observers arguing that this would strengthen its standing in the international arena. President Susilo Bambang Yuhdoyono, for instance, said the 10-nation bloc would play a greater global role next year.

However, University of Indonesia security expert Andi Widjajanto said the main problem with the UN’s reforms was that there were no discussions on amending the body’s existing charter.

“Indonesia stop touting static factors — such as being the third-largest democracy and having the largest Muslim population — and start proving its ability to maintain peace and stability, at least in East Asia,” he told the Post. Andi said Indonesia could represent East Asia at the UNSC, just as India, Nigeria and Brazil would represent South Asia, Africa and Latin America, respectively.

He added that it remained unclear which country Indonesia should seek support from as UN reforms were not complete.

University of Indonesia international relations expert Hariyadi Wirawan said should Indonesia have to compete with India for a permanent seat, “at the end of the day the US would definitely choose to support India”.

Marty said Security Council members were negotiating a number of options to reform the UNSC, including introducing new permanent members and interim members for countries to serve in the Council for more than two years.

The US, the UK, France, Russia and China have held permanent seats on the Security Council since 1971, when the People’s Republic of China took over the seat held by Taiwan.


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