Ten years are not exactly a short time for a president to make improvements in the country.
After a decade in office, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will end his tenure in October and hand over his great
responsibilities to his successor.
During his time as Indonesia’s top executive, Yudhoyono managed to attain political stability, relatively high
growth and a stronger sense of national unity.
World Bank data show that Indonesia’s economy has expanded fourfold, with its 2013 gross domestic product recorded
at $868 billion. The nation’s trade hit $ 400 billion over the past decade, with total investments reaching Rp
2,296 trillion and annual per capita income more than tripling from Rp 10.5 million ($900) in 2004 to Rp 36.6 million
However, despite stable economic growth, the country’s wealth gap has also widened, with its Gini coefficient —
a measure of income inequality — increasing to 0.41 in 2012 from 0.35 in 2005.
Yudhoyono is also leaving his post at a time when economic growth is slowing and fuel subsidies remain high.
And the president, who says his administration has been a thorn in corrupt government officials’ side, was unable
to ward off the same fraudulent acts in his own political party.
Still, with all his weaknesses and strengths throughout the past decade, the outgoing president managed to show
both wisdom and tact by not taking sides when Indonesia’s political situation threatened to worsen. And as he reaches
the end of his term, Yudhoyono has remained cooperative during a difficult transition period by offering advice
and inviting the president-elect to work together to ensure a smooth handover. In all, certainly not bad.
JAKARTA: Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, yesterday pledged "prosperity, democracy and justice"
for the world's largest Muslim nation as he was sworn in for a second five-year term.
He said his country had ''1 million friends and zero enemies'' in the world, and would play an important role in
regional and world affairs under his stewardship.
"Indonesia will continue with its free and active politics and will always struggle for justice and world
peace," Dr Yudhoyono said.
He said Indonesia remained committed to reforming the global economy through the G20, and to multilateral relations
through the United Nations, particularly in tackling climate change and the millennium development goals.
He took time in his speech to thank the Australian Prime Minister for his attendance. Kevin Rudd was flanked by
other regional leaders from Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and East Timor. Australia's Chief of Defence Force, Air
Chief Marshal Angus Houston, was also present.
President Yudhoyono's in augural speech
20 October 2009
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday that Indonesia would play a more active role in the international
arena, both at the regional and global levels.
Speaking during his inauguration at the People's Consultative Assembly building, President Yudhoyono said that
Indonesia would continue its leadership in the current negotiation for a climate deal that would be completed in
Copenhagen in December.
Yudhoyono also said that Indonesia would also be more active in pursuing global economic reforms through various
international organizations that Indonesia is a part of, especially through the prestigious Group-20.
Indonesia, Yudhoyono said, would also continue to play its leadership role in Southeast Asia through the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to create an "ASEAN community."
"We want to create an ASEAN community to make this Southeast Asian region a peaceful, prosperous and dynamic
region," he told the plenary session, which was also attended by leaders of neighboring countries.
Australian Prime Minister Minister Kevin Rudd, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysian Prime Minister
Najib Razak, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and East Timor Prime President Jose Ramos Horta attended Yudhoyono's
Yudhoyono also said that Indonesia would continue to play its role in the United Nations,
especially to help the world achieve Millennium Development Goals and create
"harmony among civilization."
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with his new cabinet ministers in front of the presidential palace in Jakarta
October 22, 2009. Yudhoyono picked respected technocrats for the top posts in his new cabinet, signalling his commitment
to much-needed reform of the bureaucracy and investment in infrastructure.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 59, is a retired general and the president of Indonesia. In July 2009 he became the first
Indonesian president ever re-elected, winning in a landslide. It was only the second time that Indonesians have
directly chosen their president. More than 120 million people cast ballots across the country, which emerged from
three decades of military rule barely 10 years ago. Mr. Yudhoyono captured 61 percent of the vote, winning all
but 5 of Indonesia’s 33 provinces.
The official results of the July 8 election, released one week after twin attacks on two American hotels here,
handed Mr. Yudhoyono a decisive first-round victory and a much stronger mandate in his second term to deal with
terrorism and push through much-needed reforms.
At a news conference on election day, July 8, Mr. Yudhoyono pledged to strengthen the rule of law, focus on economic
development and alleviate poverty.
Mr. Yudhoyono rose to prominence during the era of military rule under the late President Suharto, which lasted
for 32 years, until 1998, but he has come to be viewed as the leader most capable of extricating Indonesia from
As the crisis around General Suharto's presidency reached a peak in 1998 after the collapse of the Indonesian currency,
Mr. Yudhoyono began meeting with one of the country's prominent Muslim leaders, Nurcholish Madjid, to find a way
for General Suharto to resign.
Mr. Yudhoyono was born on Sept. 9, 1949, in Pacitan, a small town in east Java. He is considered a steady, broadly
educated man. Many Indonesians believe he was the first person with a suitable background and sufficient training
to become president since the country's transition to democracy began.
After emerging at the top of his class in the military academy in 1973, Mr. Yudhoyono was selected to go to the
United States in 1976 for military training at Fort Benning, Ga.
That was at the height of the warm relationship between the United States and the Suharto government, which was
viewed in Washington at the time as a bulwark against Communism in Southeast Asia. In 1990, he was selected for
a yearlong course at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
On July 8, voters on the more than 17,000 islands that make up the vast archipelago nation of Indonesia went
to the polls to elect the country's President. A final count has yet to be completed, but all signs suggest that
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the incumbent candidate, notched up a resounding victory. Since winning the country's
first competitive election in 2004, the former general has been a cool steward of Indonesia's young and often chaotic
democracy, denting the country's grim legacy of corruption, cracking down on radical Islamist groups and rebuilding
a nation that suffered the brunt of 2005's devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. SBY — Yudhoyono is widely referred
to by his initials — is seen as a moderate and honest figure in a nation still emerging from decades of cronyism
under the deceased military dictator Suharto. When his triumph is certified, he will become the first President
to be re-elected in what is the world's most populous Muslim democracy.
BBC: Thursday, 9 July 2009
Mr Yudhoyono has restored Indonesia's rice self-sufficiency
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono became Indonesia's first directly-elected president in October 2004.
His first year in office was marked by major earthquakes - including the one that caused the Indian Ocean tsunami
which killed more than 130,000 people in Aceh - an outbreak of polio, avian flu and more bombs in Bali.
He courted unpopularity by cutting subsidies on fuel - allowing the price to rise - but was then able to raise
the subsidies again when global prices fell.
A healthy pay rise for civil servants, a negotiated end to the long-running separatist conflict in Aceh and avoidance
of the worst effects of the global financial crisis helped ensure he ended his first term with a large groundswell
Mr Yudhoyono has also overseen cash handouts to millions of Indonesia's poor, and restored the country's rice self-sufficiency
for the first time in two decades - ensuring price stability for the staple crop.
He is also credited with spearheading a crackdown by the independent Corruption
Eradication Commission, or KPK, that has seen several high-profile figures prosecuted, including a relative of
East Timor questions
The man dubbed "the thinking general" was born in 1949 in East Java.
The son of a retired army lieutenant, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono graduated from Indonesia's military academy in 1973.
Two years later Indonesian security forces invaded East Timor. As he rose through the ranks, Mr Yudhoyono completed
several tours of duty in the territory. By the time of East Timor's violent transition to independence in 1999,
he had been promoted to Chief of Territorial Affairs.
Mr Yudhoyono was a minister in his rival Mrs Megawati's government
As such he would have reported directly to Gen Wiranto, the former head of the armed forces who has now been indicted
for war crimes by a special tribunal in East Timor.
But there has never been any attempt to bring charges against Mr Yudhoyono.
His supporters say he was not part of the inner circle of military commanders accused of allowing thHonorary award
In fact, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono never quite achieved the highest levels in the military to which he aspired.
His four-star general status was an honorary award given to him
when he left the army to join the government of Abdurrahman Wahid in 2000.
He started as minister for mines but was soon promoted to chief minister
for security and political affairs.
A year later he found himself in conflict with his boss. Facing impeachment, President Wahid asked Mr Yudhoyono
to declare a state of emergency. Mr Yudhoyono declined, and promptly lost his job.
In March 2004, history repeated itself. Mr Yudhoyono, reappointed as senior political and security minister under
President Megawati, stepped down after a very public spat with the president and her husband.
Being forced from office under successive presidents seems to have enhanced Mr Yudhoyono's reputation as a man
of principle, willing to sacrifice his own ambitions for the values he believes in.
e violence to spread.
• Born in 1949 into a lower-middle-class military family in eastern Java, Indonesia's most densely populated island.
• After graduating at the top of his class in the Indonesian national military academy in 1973, he went on to join
the army's top brass, and ultimately served as a military observer for U.N. peacekeeping operations in Bosnia during
• First shone politically in 2001, when he stood up to then President Abdurrahman Wahid — who was facing impeachment
charges — by refusing an order to declare a state of emergency. For supporters, the act sealed his reputation as
a man of integrity.
During his presidency, a lasting peace deal has been negotiated with insurgents in the tsunami-struck province
of Aceh. Has also drawn praise for blunting the influence of the Jemaah Islamiah, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist
organization, with a steady string of arrests and detentions.
In the July 8 election, SBY's two main opponents fielded running mates who were also prominent generals under Suharto.
SBY, though, was the only one of the three not being pursued on charges of human-rights abuses.
His choice of Boedino — an astute banker and political newcomer — as his running mate has been hailed as a sign
that he intends to cut through some of the bureaucratic red tape that has been a hallmark of Indonesia's murky
politics and has stalled the nation's growth in the past
Though considered to be an even-tempered, if not altogether unexciting, politician, he has a stated affection
for music and has composed his own love songs. The latest compilation is titled My Longing for You.
"I love the United States, with all its faults. I consider it my second country."
(International Herald Tribune, Aug. 8, 2003)
"God willing, in the next five years, the world will say, 'Indonesia is something, Indonesia is rising.' "
— Speaking at a huge election rally in Jakarta (New York Times, July 4, 2009)
"Today is the people's day."
— After casting his vote on July 8 (South China Morning Post)
"Even though SBY was a senior member of a deeply unpopular government, he has come to be seen as a victim
of that government rather than part of it."
— Denny Ja, an Indonesian political analyst (BBC, Oct. 20, 2004)
"More of the same."
— The campaign slogan trumpeted by Yudhoyono's Democratic Party
Tue Jul 14, 8:46 pm ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama congratulated Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his reelection
last week, and expressed a wish for "an even stronger relationship between our two countries."
"The people of Indonesia held a free and fair election on July 8, and President Yudhoyono has impressively
won reelection," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
"I wish to offer my personal congratulations to President Yudhoyono and make clear
America's desire to work with him and the Indonesian people in the years to come,
to build an even stronger relationship between our two countries," said Obama, who spent part of his childhood
The incumbent president defeated Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri in a landslide vote, and
Obama on Tuesday praised the conduct of the polls.
"The high voter turnout, spirited campaigns by all contending parties, and high level of interest among Indonesia's
media, civic organizations, and voting public are all evidence of the strength and dynamism of Indonesia's young
democracy," he said.
"Indonesia has been playing a greater role internationally in recent years, and we welcome this role. Indonesia
has made important contributions in Asia and the world in such areas as peacekeeping, environmental preservation
and protection, the development of multilateral organizations in the Asia Pacific region, and the promotion of
democracy and civil society."
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
July 14, 2009
The people of Indonesia held a free and fair election on July 8, and President Yudhoyono has impressively won reelection.
I wish to offer my personal congratulations to President Yudhoyono and make clear America’s desire to work with
him and the Indonesian people in the years to come to build an even stronger relationship between our two countries.
The high voter turnout, spirited campaigns by all contending parties, and high level of interest among Indonesia’s
media, civic organizations, and voting public are all evidence of the strength and dynamism of Indonesia’s young
democracy. Indonesia has been playing a greater role internationally in recent years, and we welcome this role.
Indonesia has made important contributions in Asia and the world in such areas as peacekeeping, environmental preservation
and protection, the development of multilateral organizations in the Asia Pacific region, and the promotion of
democracy and civil society, to name a few.
The relationship between the United States and Indonesia is based on common interests and common values, including,
tolerance, respect for human rights and diversity, and promotion of economic development. President Yudhoyono and
I are committed to working together to develop a comprehensive partnership that builds upon these shared values,
interests, and our common aspirations.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Final tallies from this month’s presidential election confirmed on Friday that President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won a landslide victory over his two opponents, capturing 61 percent of the votes and
all but 5 of Indonesia’s 33 provinces.
The official results of the July 8 election, released one week after twin attacks on two American hotels here,
handed Mr. Yudhoyono a decisive first-round victory and a much stronger mandate in his second term to deal with
terrorism and push through much-needed reforms.
According to the General Elections Commission, a former president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, collected 27 percent
of the 121 million votes cast. Jusuf Kalla, currently Mr. Yudhoyono’s vice president in a coalition government,
received 12 percent of the votes.
The results were in keeping with exit polls and partial counts that had declared Mr. Yudhoyono, 59, the unofficial
winner just hours after polls closed on July 8.
With his party’s victory in April’s legislative elections, Mr. Yudhoyono will have greater room to carry out his
own policies, experts say. In his first term, his party was one of the smallest in Parliament, and Mr. Yudhoyono
depended on coalition partners who were said to have impeded reforms.
Mr. Yudhoyono’s choice of a new cabinet, after he is sworn in on Oct. 20, should give a clearer indication of how
he intends to change the country’s political, economic and bureaucratic institutions.
Hours after the bombings, Mr. Yudhoyono said the attacks might have been linked to the electoral campaign, and
he gave details of threats made against him. But political opponents and the news media criticized his comments
after law enforcement agencies said later that the suicide bombings were clearly the work of Islamic militants
linked to Noordin Muhammad Top, a Malaysian fugitive wanted for orchestrating similar attacks in Indonesia earlier
The police have made no formal arrests in the bombings, which struck the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels and
left seven people dead, but the authorities have detained several people believed to be linked to Mr. Noordin.
Official results in Indonesia's parliamentary elections confirm the president's
Democrat Party in first place with 20.85% of the vote.
Its two main rivals - the PDIP and Golkar - both trail with around 14% each of the vote.
The election marked a huge surge in support for the Democrats - who entered the political race just five years
That has sparked some intense jockeying for position ahead of the presidential poll in two months' time.
This result - long predicted - has already turned the current presidential partnership on its head
JAKARTA, Indonesia — From Pakistan to Gaza and Lebanon, militant Islamic
movements have gained ground rapidly in recent years, fanning Western fears of a consolidation of radical Muslim
governments. But here in the world’s most populous Muslim nation just the opposite is happening, with Islamic parties
suffering a steep drop in popular support.
In parliamentary elections this month, voters punished Islamic parties that focused narrowly on religious issues,
and even the parties’ best efforts to appeal to the country’s mainstream failed to sway the public.
The largest Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party, ran television commercials of young women without head
scarves and distributed pamphlets in the colors of the country’s major secular parties. But the party fell far
short of its goal of garnering 15 percent of the vote, squeezing out a gain of less than one percentage point over
its 7.2 percent showing in 2004.
That was a big letdown for a party and a movement that had grown phenomenally in recent years, even as more radical
elements directed terrorist attacks against Western tourists and targets. The party had projected that it would
double its share of seats in Parliament even as it stuck to its founding goal of bringing Shariah, or Islamic law,
to Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, with 240 million people.
Altogether, the major Islamic parties suffered a drop in support from 38 percent in 2004 to less than 26 percent
this year, according to the Indonesian Survey Institute, an independent polling firm whose figures are in keeping
with partial official results.
Political experts and politicians attribute the decline to voters’ disillusionment
with Islamic parties that once called for idealism, but became embroiled in the messy, often corrupt world of Indonesian
politics. They also say that the popular president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is expected to be re-elected
in July, appropriated the largest Islamic party’s signature theme of clean government through a far-reaching anticorruption
On a deeper level, some of the parties’ fundamentalist measures seem to have alienated moderate Indonesians. While
Indonesia has a long tradition of moderation, it was badly destabilized with the end of military rule in 1998,
which gave rise to Islamist politicians who preached righteousness and to some hard-core elements, who practiced
violence. The country has only recently achieved a measure of stability.
Although final results from the election on April 9 will not be announced until next month, partial official results
and exit polls by several independent companies indicate that Indonesians overwhelmingly backed the country’s major
secular parties, even though more of them are continuing to turn to Islam in their private lives.
Indonesia has marked the formal start of its election season with a joint
rally of political parties in the capital Jakarta.
Thirty-eight national parties are contesting parliamentary elections on 9 April, along with
six local parties in the newly-autonomous province of Aceh.
Presidential elections are due to follow in July.
About 174 million Indonesians, across more than 17,000 islands, are eligible to vote in the ballots.
The main issues exercising voters are likely to be the economy, employment opportunities and the fight against
corruption - especially high-level corruption, which continues to plague Indonesian politics.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who arrived here Monday to be the chief guest at the Republic
Day, has the reputation of being a moderate and decisive army general and a good administrator.
When he won election to the presidency over incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri in 2004, Yudhoyono became the first
directly elected chief executive in Indonesian history.
This is his second visit to India and he hopes to consolidate the 'strategic partnership' for which he signed an
agreement in 2005.
His biographers note that the four-star general did not belong to the inner circle of the army that formed around
Gen. Suharto, one of the world's longest serving military dictators.
By 1995, he had a reputation for integrity and respect for human rights that led to his appointment as chief military
observer with the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia, and as head of a contingent of Indonesian soldiers there.
Yudhoyono's track record includes probing the terror attacks in Bali in 2002 and the Marriott Hotel in 2003. He
won plaudits for the quick arrest and prosecution of a large group of conspirators, believed to belong to extremist
Just two months into presidency in his first term, he led the massive relief work when the country was ravaged
by a tsunami in December 2004, in which over 200,000 people died.
Dubbed 'the thinking general', Yudhoyono has maintained strong popularity among ordinary Indonesians who used a
different nickname: his initials, SBY.
Yudhoyono and wife Ani Herrawati, who accompanies him on the visit to India, have two sons.
The 1949-born son of an army officer, Yudhoyono was trained partly in the US.
If US President Barack Obama has his roots partially in Indonesia, Yudhoyono, a fluent English speaker, has in
an interview quoted by the Al Jazeera television network, said: 'I love the United States, with all its faults.
I consider it my second country.'
He retired from the army in 2000 to join President Abdur Rahman Waheed's government as a minister and emerged as
a key figure. But Waheed fired him when, on facing impeachment, he wanted Yudhoyono to declare a state of emergency
that the former general refused.
Yudhoyono's tenure has been marked by a series of reform efforts and liberal policies aimed at reducing governmental
corruption and enhancing Indonesia's political and economic standing.
He has encountered problems common to leaders of developing countries: reducing institutional corruption, improving
infrastructure, and attracting foreign investment.
U.S. President Barack Obama says he will travel to Indonesia in November, fulfilling a twice-postponed promise
to visit the country where he once lived as a boy.
In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Obama said he would travel to Indonesia following a
previously scheduled visit to India. During the same trip, he will attend a Group of 20 summit in South Korea and
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Japan.
Mr. Obama has long planned to visit the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, scheduling the visit for
March and then June of this year. The trip was postponed once because of pressing health-care legislation and then
because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Indonesia has not complained publicly about the postponements. However President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has announced
he will not come to New York for a meeting Friday between Mr. Obama and Southeast Asian leaders. He says he had
President Obama delivered his second speech at the United Nations Thursday morning, giving a full-throated defense
of his first 20 months in office and a sober assessment of the challenges that lie ahead.
He pled for the world to aggressively support the U.S.-led direct peace negotiations between the Israeli government
and the Palestinian Authority. Specifically, he called on Arab nations to demonstrate their support through changes
in policy that could help repair relations between Israel and its neighbors.
"Many in this hall count themselves as friends of the Palestinians. But these pledges must now be supported
by deeds," Obama said. "Those who have signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative should seize this opportunity
to make it real by taking tangible steps toward the normalization that it promises Israel. Those who speak out
for Palestinian self-government should help the Palestinian Authority politically and financially, and - in so
doing - help the Palestinians build the institutions of their state. And those who long to see an independent Palestine
rise must stop trying to tear Israel down."
Obama also announced that he will add Indonesia, a country to which he has twice cancelled visits, to his Asia
trip this November, which will also include stops in India, South Korea, and Japan. Obama meets with leaders from
all 10 ASEAN member countries Friday.
US President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would make his twice-postponed trip to Indonesia in November, making
on a promise to travel to the Muslim-majority nation where he lived as a boy.
Obama called off previous plans to make his first visit to Indonesia as president due to his ultimately successful
drive to pass
health care reform and then over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The visit will allow Obama to speak directly to the Islamic world in the world's largest Muslim-majority country,
following rows over plans to build a Muslim cultural centre in New York and a US pastor's cancelled plans to burn
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It will also be a homecoming of sorts, as Obama lived in the country for four years as a boy with his late mother,
and has often spoken fondly of his memories of that time.
The president noted in a speech Thursday to the UN General Assembly that he had already announced plans to visit
India in November, adding that "I will continue to Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country".
Obama, who, as a native of Hawaii, has billed himself as America's first Pacific President, will then make previously
trips to South Korea and Japan.
The president had intended to travel on to Australia during the two previously postponed visits to Indonesia, but
there are no plans
to make that visit in November.
Obama's trip to Indonesia in November will be another clear sign of his intention to improve US ties with the region,
and will come after Friday's US summit here with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
In Indonesia, Obama will stress the country's emerging economic weight and the role of the world's most populous
Muslim nation in battling extremism, as well as to build on his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year.
2nd US ASEAN Summit: What’s on the Menu in Manhattan?
September 23, 2010 CSIS Southeast Asia Program
By Ernie Z. Bower, Senior Adviser & Director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program
US President Barack Obama will host eight of the ten leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)[i]
in New York on Friday, September 24, 2010 at the 2nd US ASEAN Summit. The meeting underlines renewed American policy
energy being invested in Southeast Asia. Headlines from the discussion should focus on three areas:
1. Security alignment including a restatement of a common position on the South China Sea;
2. Economic growth and trade – particularly ASEAN’s leaders seeking an update from the President on the health
of the US economy and a read on whether the mid-term US Congressional elections might be an inflection point after
which the US can return to a proactive posture on trade; and
3. Burma – specifically exploring a way forward on how the US and ASEAN can encourage Burma’s leaders to introduce
political space in the November elections or beyond.
The fact the meeting is taking place in September in the United States is important in that it institutionalizes
renewed US engagement in ASEAN ahead of key steps forward in the creating of regional security and trade architecture
On the other hand, the fact that the Summit is taking place in New York not Washington and
without the leader of ASEAN’s largest country and economy, Indonesia, underlines the fact that while policy intent is clearly substantive engagement, there is still
much work to be done to align the US and ASEAN.
Despite the best intentions of the principles, the meeting will certainly be viewed through the prism of perceived
increased tension between China and its Asian neighbors particularly related to disputed maritime territories.
Here are some Critical Questions about the Summit and what we can expect.
Q 1 > Who, where & when – who is meeting and what is the agenda?
A 1 > President Obama will host the Summit over lunch at a famous hotel in Manhattan in
New York City from 12 noon to 2:30 PM on Friday, September 24, 2010. Eight of the ten ASEAN leaders are confirmed
to join him except for President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and Prime Minister Thein Sein of Burma.
ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan will also join the meeting. The only surprise is Yudhoyono’s absence
and that is significant (see below). The Burmese were not expected to send their head of state due to poor relations
with the United States and the sanctions regime currently in place. President Yudhoyono will be represented by
Indonesia’s Vice President Boediono and Prime Minister Thein Sein will be represented by Burma’s Foreign Minister
U Nyan Win. The leaders will be accompanied in most cases by their ministers of foreign affairs, ambassadors to
the United States and or the United Nations, and other senior officials.
Q2 > Why isn’t President Yudhoyono attending and what are the implications of his absence?
A2 > President Yudhuyono notified the White House that he could not accept President Obama’s invitation to come
to New York due to domestic issues that need to be attended in Jakarta. Insiders confirm that Yudhoyono decided
he could not come to New York due to a confluence of issues including the fact that President Obama has had to
postpone planned travel to Indonesia three times since taking office and the short notice given by the White House
(not quite a month in advance of the meeting). Had the Summit been scheduled in Washington, DC – America’s capital
– and in early October so Yudhoyono and the other ASEAN leaders might have been able to come on either side of
their long planned visit to Brussels for the Asia Europe Summit, the Indonesian leader would probably have come.
Yudhoyono’s absence sends a strong signal that although the US ASEAN relationship is moving in the right direction,
there is work still to be done to improve alignment. Indonesia is ASEAN’s largest country and has the largest economy,
both more than twice as large as the next member. It is also ASEAN’s incoming Chairman for 2011. It is likely that
the US and ASEAN will get back on track next year when Indonesia hosts the 3rd US ASEAN Summit, and after President
Obama finally is able to make his long-awaited visit to Indonesia. There are quiet plans for him to visit Jakarta
during his Asia trip after US mid-term elections in November. That trip would include India, Indonesia, Korea for
the G-20 Summit and Japan for the APEC Leaders Summit. In sum, Yudhoyono’s absence doesn’t fully diminish the importance
of the meeting in New York on Friday, but it lays down the marker that the US ASEAN relationship is trending well,
but remains a work in progress. I explore the gap between the US policy intentions toward ASEAN and the realities
of domestic politics revealed by Yudhoyono’s absence in the US on the CSIS Asia policy blog at http://cogitasia.com/2010/09/08/us-asean-summit-in-new-york-gut-check-time/
Q3> What is the on the security agenda and will the South China Sea be a focus?
A3 > The United States and ASEAN are working with other countries including Australia, China, India, Japan,
Korea, New Zealand and Russia to create new regional security architecture in Asia. To this end, the US and Russia
will be invited to join the East Asia Summit (EAS) this October during the EAS meeting in Hanoi. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton will represent the United States at this meeting and accept the invitation. The US will then ideally
be represented by President Obama at the next EAS hosted by Indonesia in 2011 (it is likely that the US ASEAN Summit
will be held in proximity). As part of its calculus in deciding to join the EAS, the US recognized that it must
strengthen its security and political ties with ASEAN and invest in supporting ASEAN’s self defined goals to firm
its foundation through the economic, political and socio-economic integration as outlined in the ASEAN Charter.
To this end, the US has been moving to normalize military ties with Indonesia and enhancing military relations
with Vietnam as well as committing to join the ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting + 8 (which includes the same countries
listed above who are/will be members of the EAS).
In this context, one of the existential challenges for Asia is to create structures and use diplomacy to encourage
China’s peaceful rise as a major world power. The South China Sea represents a major challenge in this process.
China has been very effective in its “charm offensive” begun during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990’s
– writing a script of an engaged and committed neighbor promising economic dynamism through expanded trade and
investment and regional economic integration. However, China’s geopolitical interests are the other side of that
coin. China’s definition of its “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea in response to Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton’s reiteration of long-standing US goals for maritime dispute resolution and freedom of navigation
in the area based on international law and a multilateral approach has uncovered atavistic anxieties about China’s
intentions among the Southeast Asian countries. Therefore, ASEAN has welcomed a strong US voice on security concerns
in the South China Sea and this has come at a time, ahead of a the Chinese political cycle which will identify
the country’s next generation of leaders in 2012, of heightened nationalism in China.
Nether the US nor ASEAN want to provoke Chinese nationalists, but both recognize the importance of being firm and
sustaining a commitment to a multilateral approach to dispute resolution. Therefore, it is likely that the Summit
in New York will result in a Joint Statement that addresses the issue by reiterating the intent and direction of
Secretary Clinton’s remarks at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi with a tone of provocation or focus on China.
Q 4 > How about economic growth and trade?
A 4 > ASEAN is concerned about thehealth and direction of the US economy and hopes President Obama can assure
them that the recovery is underway and that he will be able to move the US toward a more proactive posture on trade
after the US mid-term elections in November. These issues are fundamentally important to ASEAN because the US is
its largest overseas market (particularly when you factor in the fact that many ASEAN exports go through China
as part of a supply chain that ends up with products delivered to the United States) and the US remains one of
the top and qualitatively most valuable sources of investment and technology for the region. ASEAN is collectively
the most trade dependent formal grouping of nations in the world with trade accounting for nearly 100 percent of
aggregate gross domestic product. So if trade stagnates, ASEAN is the global canary in the coal mine and its suffers
first and most significantly.
ASEAN will be watching the US Korea Free Trade Agreement closely as the benchmark indicator for whether President
Obama will use the political chits necessary to kick start trade and make the case to Americans that long term
recovery is dependent on US engagement in ASEAN, Asia and the world. ASEAN is America’s fourth largest overseas
market and one that promises high level growth for the coming years. ASEAN wants to know if the mid-term elections
will be an inflection point for the US stance on global trade. Read more on the disconnect between policy and politics
on trade with ASEAN in cogitASIA here http://cogitasia.com/2010/09/20/making-the-case-to-americans-asean-jobs/.
Q 5 > What about Burma?
A5 > With Burmese elections coming up on November 7, Burma is sure to be high on the agenda – at least for the
Americans. While ASEAN would prefer not to have to carry the weight of Burma’s cloistered and intransigent military
junta, it recognizes that having made the commitment to bring Burma into its membership it must work with the US
and others to try to encourage the creation of political space there. The Obama Administration deserves credit
for its courage and foresight in espousing an engagement strategy toward Burma that allowed it to reengage with
ASEAN and hold meetings such as this Summit. While the engagement has not produced results in Burma, the US has
changed its paradigm with ASEAN. The Administration can and likely will tighten sanctions on Burma by focusing
on its leaders, their families and companies they are associated with – measure outlined in the Lantos Act. ASEAN
needs to do its part and increase its normative focus on Burma to pressure the regime to create more political
openness to it can truly engage in the core elements of integration defined in the ASEAN Charter. If ASEAN begins
to focus on Burma, pressure may increase on China and India to refocus current mercantilist and military policies
that enable the hard-line domestic political stance of the junta and play a role as responsible stakeholders in
encouraging positive change in the country.
Q 6 > What next?
A6 > ASEAN hopes President Obama will announce his candidate to the first US Ambassador to ASEAN to be resident
in Jakarta? A candidate’s name is reportedly pending review and due diligence though it is not likely that name
can be announced on Friday. Additionally, the US and ASEAN are expecting to name an Eminent Person Group (EPG)
to provide guidance and leadership for the relationship. These names have also not been announced yet.
After the New York Summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in visiting Hanoi for the EAS and in October
and Secretary of Defense Gates will visit Vietnam for the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting + 8 (ADMM + 8). President
Obama is planning to visit Indonesia in November as mentioned above.
US ASEAN Summit in New York – Gut Check Time
September 8, 2010
CSIS Southeast Asia Program
By Ernest Z. Bower, Senior Adviser and Director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program
The 2nd US ASEAN Summit in New York on September 24 is an important meeting but there are questions regarding who
President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) of Indonesia, the incoming chair of ASEAN, hasn’t
confirmed his attendance yet. Vietnam is still considering whether President Nguyen Minh Triet, who as head
of government traditionally represents his country
at the United Nations or Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will attend.
Press reports from Bangkok have misreported that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is uncertain about attending
– we understand he is confirmed, as are all the remaining heads of government from ASEAN except the Burmese who
have opted to send their Foreign Minister — no surprise given the threat enhanced sanctions on Burmese leaders
and the UN moving toward a Commission of Inquiry (COI) for crimes against humanity.
The real issue is SBY’s decision. He has the power to send a strong signal to his fellow
ASEAN leaders, the United States and all of Asia. Should he decide to pass up President Barack Obama’s invitation
to join the Summit in New York, there will be serious questions about where US-ASEAN relations are heading. The
trajectory coming into New York looks very positive, building on a strong foundation and strengthening links between
the US and ASEAN head of key meetings this Fall including the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting
+ 8 (ADMM) in Vietnam, the G-20 Summit in Seoul and the APEC Summit in Yokohama. Substantively, US ASEAN ties are
sound and would remain so even if SBY doesn’t attend, but the signal of not attending has the potential to do real
damage over time.
A strong US ASEAN foundation is vital as the region steps into new regional security and trade architecture. The
table is set, and it is very important for Indonesia to demonstrate leadership. Every effort should be made to
ensure SBY makes the trip to New York, including direct intervention by other leaders, especially President Obama.
A call to Jakarta would be helpful. The truth is that a personal touch is due. President Obama has had every intention
to visit Indonesia, but has been frustrated by schedule and domestic politics three times. Additionally, it is
true that the White House was not able to make a decision on date and venue for the Summit until recently, giving
ASEAN leaders short notice for such a major trip. The ASEAN heads of government had already scheduled a visit to
Europe in early October for the Asia Europe Summit (ASEM), so the invitation requires an additional overseas trip
to kick off an already packed second half of 2010. ASEAN may be disappointed too, that the Summit is being held
in New York instead of Washington, D.C.
Still, the opportunity to institutionalize the US ASEAN Summit and hold the meeting on American soil within a year
of the inaugural summit make the trip worth the effort. There are real issues to discuss including headliners such
as security and trade, and getting alignment on these and other issues. Relationships take commitment and energy
on both sides. Exploring the implications of holding a Summit without SBY or postponing the Summit should be a
sobering proposition to all the leaders involved. Here’s to everyone doing what is needed to make the meeting work.
It is gut check time for the US ASEAN relationship as we approach September 24 in New York.
Indonesia Leader Doubtful for ASEAN Summit in United States
September 16, 2010
Jakarta. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is unlikely to attend a summit of Southeast Asian leaders
called by US President Barack Obama this month in New York, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
The failure of the leader of the region’s biggest economy and the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country
to attend the summit will be a blow to Obama’s efforts to reach out to the strategically important region.
Officials blamed the short notice given for the summit, which was announced on Sept. 3, and Yudhoyono’s prior
“The US-ASEAN summit invitation was given in short notice. The president’s agenda at that time was fixed earlier
this year,” spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said.
The White House has said Obama will hold talks with leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations
in New York on September 24, at the time of the annual United Nations General Assembly.
The summit is Obama’s latest attempt to reinvigorate US policy towards the rapidly developing region, where US
primacy is seen by some as waning in the face of China’s growing economic and military might.
Domestic affairs have forced Obama, who went to school in Indonesia as a child, to cancel two visits to Jakarta
in the past 12 months.
The democratic, nominally secular archipelago is a key founding member of ASEAN, which includes members as diverse
as regional financial hub Singapore, Buddhist Thailand, communist Vietnam and military-ruled Myanmar.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will likely skip the US-ASEAN summit to be held on the sidelines of the UN meeting
in New York on Sept. 24, the Foreign Ministry says.
Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the President had already made “earlier commitments” and did not plan to
attend the UN General Assembly meeting in New York from Sept. 20-28. “Vice President [Boediono] will most likely
be in attendance,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Faizasyah was quick to dismiss speculation the President may have decided not to visit the US after US President
Barack Obama called off his planned visits to Indonesia — where he spent part of his childhood — this year.
Obama was initially scheduled to fly to Jakarta in March, but postponed until June 14 as he had to focus on healthcare
legislation reform at home.
Early in June, Washington announced that Obama was again forced to cancel his trip to Indonesia and Australia at
a time when he was trying to cope with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The President “has items on the national agenda that could not be set aside,” Faizasyah said, adding that the invitation
to the summit was given at short notice. “The US government seems to assume all ASEAN leaders will attend the UN
The US under Obama has been making efforts to flex its muscle in Southeast Asia after years of neglect under the
leadership of his predecessor. Observers say the situation has paved the way for China to launch its charm offensive
in the area and further sidelined the last remaining superpower in the increasingly strategic region.
The first US-ASEAN summit was held on the sidelines of the APEC meeting last November, a few months after Washington
signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN.
As Indonesia is the largest member of ASEAN and plays a crucial leadership role within the regional grouping, the
absence of Yudhoyono at the summit will certainly be noted, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher
Dewi Fortuna Anwar said, but added that the Indonesian leader’s absence at the New York summit would not affect
US efforts to court ASEAN.
She said it was possible the President was too busy at home to attend the summit, but added that it was also only
natural for Yudhoyono to skip a trip to the US as he had previously visited the country for the G20 meeting in
“The principle of reciprocity usually applies in state visits. Yudho-yono visited the US under Obama. I think that’s
a good reason
to instead wait for Obama to come here,” she said.
Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has called off a state visit to the Netherlands because of
a threat that he could be arrested.
A separatist group, the Republic of South Moluccas (RMS), has asked a court to order his detention in connection
with alleged human rights violations.
Mr Yudhoyono said that if he had gone ahead with the three-day visit, it might have led to a "misunderstanding".
Indonesian authorities crushed the RMS after it declared independence in 1950.
It was revived following the fall of President Suharto in 1998, and is currently based in the Netherlands, Indonesia's
former colonial power.
From 1999 until 2002, ethnic violence in the Moluccas islands left an estimated 5,000 people dead and displaced
A spokeswoman for a court in The Hague confirmed that the RMS had asked for an injunction to have Mr Yudhoyono
arrested on arrival.
The group wanted him to face prosecution for the alleged human rights violations and the physical abuse of political
prisoners, she added.
Mr Yudhoyono was reportedly already onboard his plane at Jakarta's airport on Tuesday when he decided to cancel
the state visit.
"In recent days, a group has filed a request to the court to make an issue out of human rights in Indonesia
and request the court to arrest me during the state visit to the Netherlands," he told reporters afterwards.
"What I cannot accept is if the president of Indonesia makes a visit to the Netherlands, after an invitation
from the Netherlands, the court decides to arrest the president of Indonesia."
The BBC contacted the Dutch embassy in Jakarta about the president's plans but they had no comment.
In this photo released by Indonesian Presidential office,
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures
as he speaks during a press conference announcing the cancellation
of his trip to the Netherlands in Jakarta, Indonesia, 05 Oct 2010
The Indonesian president abruptly postponed a visit planned to the Netherlands, citing a human-rights case in
the host country that could threaten him with arrest. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was at the airport when
he decided not to go forward with his three-day visit to the Netherlands to meet with the Dutch queen and prime
Presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the president postponed the visit because of a legal case filed in
a Dutch court concerning alleged human-rights violations in Indonesia. "The president, after due consideration
and receiving a lot of feedback from the relevant ministers and also from our mission in The Hague, has decided
to postpone the visit pending the development in the Netherlands where certain individuals brought a case against
A group called the South Maluku Republic filed the human-rights case against the president. Its members are exiles
from the South Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia. In the 1950s they tried unsuccessfully to establish an independent
state and later were forced to flee to the Netherlands, Indonesia's former colonial ruler.
The case involves an incident in 2007 when President Yudhoyono was visiting the regional capital Ambon. At an event
where the president was speaking, a demonstrator unfurled a flag representing Maluku independence, which is against
the law in Indonesia. The protester was arrested and human-rights groups said was he beaten severely.
The South Maluku Republic said the president is ultimately responsible for human-rights abuses.
Faizasyah said the president holds diplomatic immunity and would not be charged, but he postponed the trip because
the negative publicity would distract from his diplomatic mission.
The vice president of the South Maluku Republic group, Willem Sopacua, said it intends to keep the pressure on
Mr. Yudhoyono to address the human-rights situation in the region. "Of course it is a great victory for us,
psychologically. He understands every time he tries to come to the Netherlands we are prepared."
The Indonesian government denies the abuse allegations. The country has been credited with sweeping reforms that
have freed the media and vastly improved human rights since the ouster of strongman leader Suharto in 1998.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reiterated Thursday his regret over a Dutch court's holding of a trial session
on the same day he was supposed to arrive in the Netherlands, saying it breached the “ethic and conduct of nation-to-nation
The President was supposed to leave for the Netherlands for a state visit Tuesday, but canceled in the last minutes
when his entourage were already on board, following news that a Dutch district court was to hold a trial on the
same day in response to a lawsuit filed by some activists of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS), an Indonesian
The plaintiffs demand, among others, that the Dutch government lift the Indonesian President's diplomatic immunity
during his visit to the Netherlands and have him arrested on charges of human rights violations; both of which
have been rejected by the court.
“It is odd that the lawsuit was filed on Oct. 4, and yet the court held the trial on Oct. 5 – only a day after.
I guess it is the fastest-responding court in the world,” Yudhoyono said as he opened a Cabinet meeting on political
and security affairs at the Presidential Office in Jakarta.
“And the signal sent by the trial is so wrong; it breaches the ethics and conduct of nation-to-nation relationships,”
The President said he was aware the Dutch government could not possibly intervene in affairs of Dutch courts, but
highlighted the fact that the visit he had planned was at the invitation of the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix and
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
“The court is part of the state of the Netherlands, part of its national system; should it hold the trial to welcome
“We remember when Queen Beatrix visited Indonesia in 1995 and Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende in 2006, we welcomed
and treated them warmly. It is hard for me to accept that I would be welcomed instead with the trial.”
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
sits in the first row 2nd left from British Queen Elizabeth II
(First row from L to R)
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud,
China's President Hu Jintao, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Brazilian President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Argentine
President Cristina Kirchner and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
London, April 2, 2009
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
sitting beside s American President Barack Obama,
delivers a speech during the G20 Summit in London on Thursday.
In his speech, Yudhoyono expressed a desire for the summit
to produce a concrete strategy for tackling the global financial crisis. Photo Courtesy of Presidential office/Dino Pati Djalal
Mustaqim Adamrah , THE JAKARTA POST ,
LONDON | Fri, 04/03/2009 8:48 AM |
The world’s 20 most powerful economies ended their summit Thursday with a set of measures that
are hoped to function as a panacea to immediately cure the failing global economy.
Leaders of the G20 member countries walked out of the group’s summit venue in London with a united optimism of
turning the course of the world’s economy into a more transparent and accountable financial system.
The group said in a statement that confidence would not be restored until trust in the financial system had been
“Strengthened regulation and supervision must promote propriety, integrity and transparency; guard against risk
across the financial system; dampen rather than amplify the financial and economic cycle; reduce reliance on inappropriately
risky sources of financing; and discourage excessive risk-taking,” the group said.
London, 31 March 2009
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono greets audience members after giving a speech Tuesday at the
London School of Economic and Political Science. The event was held
as part of Yudhoyono’s agenda before taking part in the G20 Summit in the UK capital Thursday (Courtesy of Presidential
US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown remained confident
over a global deal to lift the world out of a massive recession — an optimism shared by Indonesian President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono, who is also in London to take part in
Yudhoyono suggested that emerging countries, including Indonesia, put high hopes in
the world leaders meeting coming up with a concrete solution, calling it “humankind’s
best hope for the... beginning of a solution” to the current meltdown, warning that failure
to achieve that would be costly.
“As a permanent member, I want coordinated global actions [resulting from the summit] to
be effective and concrete and of benefit to us all,” Yudhoyono said Wednesday in London.
On Tuesday, hours after the Indonesian delegation arrived in London, Yudhoyono also told his audience at the London
School of Economics and Political Science that only with global cooperation could the world survive the crisis.
“That is why Indonesia is deeply involved in the work of the G20, which is humankind’s best hope for the solution
or the beginning of a solution to the crisis that has engulfed us all. Indonesia also wants to ensure that developing
countries will not be left behind [in the process].
“I realize it is not enough to have a regional vision. We must also have a global vision, most especially at a
time when the whole world, without exception, is reeling from the impact of the global economic and financial crisis,”
AFP/POOL/File – US President Barack Obama on Friday spoke to Indonesia's
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Friday spoke to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
about the global economic crisis, underscoring warming relations between the two countries.
"The President had a wide-ranging telephone discussion with President Yudhoyono of Indonesia this morning,"
a White House statement said.
"The President consulted with President Yudhoyono on the global economic crisis and affirmed the need for
close cooperation, noting the upcoming G-20 Summit that both leaders will attend." Obama and Yudhoyono also discussed avian influenza, climate change,
counterterrorism and how to bring democracy and human rights to Myanmar during the call, the White House said.
The president, who lived in Indonesia for four years as a boy, also spoke about his policy of reinventing US relations
with the Muslim world, the White House said.
In the early months of the Obama administration, US ties with Indonesia have markedly improved.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a nearly 6,000-kilometer (3,500-mile) detour to Indonesia between stopping
in Tokyo and Seoul on her first official visit abroad and said Washington wanted a "comprehensive partnership"
While Indonesia was a Cold War ally of Washington, relations were held back for years by disputes over human rights
abuses under former dictator Suharto who fell in 1998.
Obama and Yudhoyono will meet face to face at the G-20 economic summit of developed and developing nations in London
on April 2.