Natasia Christy Wahyuni, Jakarta – China is one of the most influential countries for Indonesia, and the East Asian nation's growing economy and power would only increase its impact on the archipelago's future, Dino Patti Djalal, founder of the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia, said last week.
The independent think-tank on international relations has conducted a study on the 10 most influential countries for Indonesia and concluded that China's influence is now close to that of the United States and Japan.
China's combined influence in terms of market size, employment impact, investment, number of tourists and historical ties now rivals those of the two other economic giants, which were decades ahead and prominent in shaping and investing in Suharto's New Order development plan.
Dino said China's influence would only continue to grow, in line with the expansion of its economy.
"Even if China only grows by 5 percent, the growth would be as big as Argentina's [economy]," Dino said on Friday, referring to the South American country's $638-billion economy.
Dino was speaking at the launch of the Silk Road Community Building Initiative, attended by Ji Bingxuan, deputy chairman of the 12th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and president of the Chinese Association for International Understanding.
Dino said he believed China would undoubtedly become a leading power in cybertechnology, artificial intelligence, space technology and innovation.
"This is what concerns countries that have been dominant in technology," he said. "But for Indonesia, we will welcome anyone who is in technology, from the West or the East."
However, he added that Indonesia would be subject to less pressure from China when it comes to issues of liberal democracy.
Dino said while most countries seek to become more like the West, China has ambitions to maintain its identity.
"China shows that it wants to move forward, but it does not want to be a Western country. Implicitly, it does not want liberal democracy, but it is ambitious to become a country with Chinese characteristic. What's clear, is the certainty that this attitude will dominate China's perspective on its future," Dino said.