Start of term of new Chinese envoy to Indonesia – Asia and the Pacific

News Office (The Jakarta Post)

Jakarta ●
Mon 7 March 2022

Asia and the Pacific

China’s new ambassador to Indonesia, Lu Kang, began his tenure in Jakarta after delivering his credentials to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo last Wednesday.

The 53-year-old career diplomat arrived in the Southeast Asian country late last month, at a time when the rivalry between China and the United States is heating up in the Indo-Pacific region.

Indonesia, however, continues to maintain its neutrality, with Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi pledging to work within the ASEAN framework as the country’s main channel for diplomacy.

A former head of the North American Affairs Department at China’s Foreign Ministry, Lu has an extensive portfolio, including serving as the ministry’s spokesperson from 2015 to 2019, as well as several postings in North America and Europe.

He met Minister Retno on Friday, when they discussed various bilateral issues, including how China would “work with ASEAN on high-quality Belt and Road cooperation”, according to a statement posted on the Chinese Embassy’s website.

“Indonesia is an important member of ASEAN and a major developing country, with growing influence in international and regional affairs,” Lu said upon arriving in Jakarta on February 22, quoted in a press release from the embassy. “Under the strategic leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo, the China-Indonesia comprehensive strategic partnership has witnessed rapid and steady development.”

Lu also said China will support Indonesia in hosting the G20 summit this year.

Located in the eye of the storm and bordering both the Indian and Pacific oceans with the South China Sea on its doorstep, Indonesia has consistently pushed ASEAN to have a say in shaping regional order and the promotion of an open, transparent and inclusive regional architecture based on international law. Unlike other countries, Indonesia has not been shy about embracing China.

Michael J. Chiaramonte