For what? Look after Prabowo visit, not only China Made blatant disregard toward our Sovereign over North Natuna Sea, but not long after there is Covid19 case in which had happened in Wuhan!!! And now amid pandemic China keep increased their presence in South China Sea and using vacsine they are developing (in which i am quite suspicious on how they are able to complete Vacsine development in less than one year, meanwhile incubation process and selection of strain and sampling process should need much more longer time) China using Kungflu as biological weapons as diplomatic tools and coerce other to push their interest toward other countries.
Sometimes when I read the posts from the defense forum community, it really stands in contrast to what I hear from people I know in the diplomatic office as well as those I know who assist Indonesia in policy making.
While China is a bigger threat than America at this point of time, our 'bebas-aktif' is not delusional propaganda by our gov. It is a policy that allows us a degree of security without being under the sphere of power of either state. Our official neutrality also allows other ASEAN countries more wriggle room. We have cooperation with both China and America, and while we are not seen as an ally by either, we do receive benefits. GST Trade preference from America, participation in RIMPAC and many other defense cooperation, all while accepting belt & road money as well as Chinese investments in our IT sector.
In short, both sides have some interest in keeping us neutral. Even-though America understandably wants us to commit. What comes afterwards though? Trade disruption with China? Withdrawal of investments? Even more anti-Chinese domestic sentiment? Furthermore, it might prompt China to act more belligerently, causing the conflict to heat up quickly.
Shiny toys alone should not be enough for us to change our neutral stance, especially if it would lead to an economic disruption and an escalation of conflict.
Yes, China has leveraged its ability to control Covid early on to conduct Corona-diplomacy. Its also has continued to be belligerent on matters regarding the Natuna islands (and its border with India), as well as a rushed vaccine that we are now buying and producing.
Note though, that when it comes to direct medical assistance, China has done much better than America. Furthermore, it makes perfect sense that China would have a vaccine first as it was the first nation to deal with it. China instituted the largest lockdown in human history in late January. The West and the rest of world only started to really follow suite in mid march. Its easy to argue that China had a head start in preparing a vaccine.
Despite that, well, the UK has also started rollout of the Pfizer Vaccine, so arguably, China's 'rush' is not in any way different to the rush everyone else is doing. Furthermore, the Chinese Vaccine is also the most 'unsophisticated' since it simply uses 'inactivated' virus instead of the fancier techniques. As shown, it also has a lower efficacy, at about 90-92%, compared to the 95% of Pfizer vaccine. This is all public knowledge. It is not a conspiracy.
Furthermore, we have tested this very vaccine in stage 3 trials done by thousands in Indonesia, so we know that the vaccine is compatible with our local covid-19 strain and our genetics. Its a reasonable vaccine, it has been tested, and we are administering it to the young first, meaning that should there by any allergic reactions (bound to happen when administering to millions instead of just thousands) would be survivable.
Note that all the vaccines we've recieved so far are from China, because the western world is once again hoarding their vaccines. It makes more sense to cooperate with China, because China is the country that is most willing to cooperate and does not put us at the very bottom of their priority list.
As such, should we shift away from neutrality, its much more preferable to do it slowly. As currently, our cooperation with China brings a lot of benefits and the West is understandably only interested in Indonesia as a meat-shield. Should war break out, our neighborhood will be the most effected. To date, despite provocations, room increased for provocation is still high before we must commit to the West.