Indonesia’s President-elect visits China in first overseas trip 

02 Apr 2024

Bilateral Cooperation

On April 1, 2024, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto engaged in confidential discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping, following his win in Indonesia’s February 14 national election. 


During the meeting, Prabowo expressed his commitment to building upon the accomplishments of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration in fostering the relationship with China. He characterized this partnership as one of the fundamentals for his forthcoming presidential initiatives in Indonesia. 


In a video excerpt aired by state media CCTV and reported by The Jakarta Post, Prabowo reiterated his commitment to President Jokowi’s policies. “I am determined to use all his achievements as a foundation for my programs. I fully support a closer and higher quality relationship between [China] and Indonesia,” Prabowo said. 


Prabowo’s decision to prioritize China for diplomatic engagement underscores the significance of the bilateral relationship cultivated over the past decade. During Jokowi’s tenure, China emerged as Indonesia’s foremost trading partner, especially in supplying natural resources, such as nickel and coal. 


During his visit, Prabowo also emphasized his aspirations to strengthen defense collaboration with China. "Regarding defense cooperation, I view China as one of the key partners in ensuring regional peace and stability," he added, as per Reuters. 


In response, Xi assured Prabowo of China's commitment to sustained communication and collaboration, particularly in advancing joint economic projects aimed at regional integration and enhancing maritime cooperation. 


Xi also pledged to address Indonesia's military equipment requirements. "I also commit to fulfil the needs of Indonesia's military hardware, boost cooperation in the defense industry and establish productive dialogues," he affirmed. 


Additionally, as reported by Chinese state media Xinhua, Xi emphasized that China and Indonesia, as prominent developing nations and emerging markets, have historically backed each other in their quests for national independence and progress.  


He called for future collaboration marked by genuine unity to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and collective development, positioning themselves as leaders in South-South cooperation.