Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security


Indonesia is an archipelagic country that geographically located in Indo-Pacific region where a regional flashpoint in the South China Sea is located right at its’ northern border. The flashpoint is due to China’s claim of the so-called Nine-Dash Line area that claims an enormous portion of the South China Sea. In Indonesia’s perspective, the area is violating Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone of the North Natuna Sea. Indonesia is placed in an uneasy situation because China is also offering economic assistance for this country through Belt-Road Initiative as well as being the most important trading partner for years. Furthermore, the United States (US) and several other countries are continuously rejecting China’s claim that further escalating the tension in the region. The rivalry between China against the US escalate as China begins to exercise their power in supporting their claim over the South China Sea. Equipped with strong economy and military modernisation, China demands more say at the international level. The US responded with countermeasures ranging from trade war against China, military strategy to contain China to the security cooperation with certain key players in the region which further increase the tension. However, Indonesia is neither aligned themselves to the US nor China. Instead, this country choses to use their own strategy in the current situation, called the Global Maritime Fulcrum (GMF).

The GMF strategy is introduced and implemented by the Widodo administration in 2014-2019. There are several aspects in GMF strategy including economic aspect, security aspect, and diplomacy/foreign policy aspect. There are at least three reasons that make Widodo administration chose GMF strategy in response to the current regional geopolitical landscape. The first one is historical factor. Indonesia is historically a maritime nation due to its archipelagic landscape, maritime kingdoms and post-colonial history, and the elites’ aspiration to unite the archipelago from time to time. Widodo strategically using the GMF to unite the people by asserting the nationalism spirit of the united archipelago. The second one is economic factor. As mentioned earlier, Indonesia still needs China and as well as the US and its allies for this country economic development. Thus, being in a neutral position is considered the best option for Indonesia’s economic development. The third one is due to Indonesia’s long-time foreign policy doctrine of “independent and active” that preferred not to align their country with competing powers, therefore this country could enjoy a pragmatic position to cooperate with both powers while ensuring their own security.

FoR codes (2020)

480309 Ocean law and governance



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.