China-Indonesia Relations: The Debate over Foreign Aid during the COVID-19 Era

Ilham Agustian Candra, Muhammad Yafi Zhafran


China-Indonesia relations during the past few decades can be reviewed as a good mark, notably in investment matters. China has become Southeast Asia's most significant donor by periodically providing Indonesia with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Nevertheless, this regard is led to a foreign debt trap for Indonesia. This circumstance rapidly raised the negative sentiment toward China and completed with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which strengthened the momentum. This research aims to explore the relationship that China is forward to Indonesia amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the motivation behind such a relationship. The qualitative method and descriptive analysis approach obtained by secondary data has been used to explain this research. Through employing the concept of humanitarian diplomacy and national interest, this research found that the relationship conducted by China for Indonesia amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is the distribution of humanitarian aid in the health sector. The distribution of such humanitarian aid is an instrument for China to develop global image-building for the post-COVID-19 pandemic as well as to achieve national interest in terms of strengthening its presence and relations in the Southeast Asian region, especially Indonesia. This research implies expanding the discussion of the consequences of China-Indonesia relations, as recently become the main debate of many scholars.


China-Indonesia Relations; Foreign Aid; Image-Building; Humanitarian Diplomacy; National Interest

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