Editorial

Editorial (412)

02
August

On Wednesday (24/7), a negotiation of US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer and Finance Minister, Steven Mnuchin in Shanghai, China - a first face-to-face meeting with Chinese officials after the G20 meeting ended anticlimax. The US-Chinese trade war can be expected to get more heated.In the trade negotiation that ended on Wednesday (7/31), although the two countries described the negotiations as being constructive, after the meeting, US President Donald Trump threatened again to impose a new 10% tariff on imported Chinese goods worth US$ 300 billion dollars starting September 1. This is the impact of the failure of the US and Chinese negotiators. The levy will hit a number of consumer goods such as cellphones, laptops, toys and footwear. This increases tension in the trade war that has disrupted the global supply chain and shaken the financial markets for more than a year. Another round of negotiations between negotiators is scheduled to take place in September. Although the United States and China agreed to meet again in September 2019, nothing can be sure that the meeting will create progress compared to the two-day trade talk in Shanghai, China. The most likely happening is to lead to a trade war that drags on and burdens global markets.It should be remembered that negotiations between the US and China began to heat up in May after US officials accused China of withdrawing from previous commitments. Furthermore, the US violently raised tariffs on imports of goods from China worth US $ 200 billion dollars and China also responded. So, the trade tension increases. Furthermore in September, President Trump also threatened to impose a 25% tariff sanction on Chinese goods worth US $ 300 billion dollars, which has caused unease for American retailers, Walmart and other major US companies. The trade war between the United States and China has brought about negative impact on businesspeople who have been worried about the reality. A number of industrial sectors have been affected, ranging from manufacturing, technology, services to retail. One of the most severe impacts is the manufacturing sector such as telecommunication producers and consumer products.The International Monetary Fund -IMF at the beginning of 2019 had warned that the US-China trade war would bring about an impact on many countries, especially countries such as Argentina, Turkey and Brazil which were vulnerable to sudden pressure. Slowing world economic growth has lowered its forecast for global economic growth by 3.7 percent this year and to 3.6 percent in 2022-2023. Indonesia's trade performance with China also experienced a deficit of US $ 8.48 billion dollars in the January-May 2019 period due to the US-China trade war. We can conclude that the US-China trade war will continue to have a sustainable impact on various parties, and now it is no longer a matter of two countries.

31
July

Amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States, Russia has stepped up military cooperation with Iran. In the near future, Tehran and Moscow will conduct joint military exercises in the Persian Gulf region. The Iranian Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi in a statement broadcast by PressTv stated that on the basis of the two governments' agreement, naval joint training would be held later this year. The armed forces leaders of the two countries have signed agreements on joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, Makran waters, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. The joint exercises of the Iranian and Russian navies were the first to be carried out, marking an increase in military cooperation between the two countries.Information about the military cooperation between Iran and Russia, might provoke a reaction from the United States which had previously invited its European allies to increase security in the Gulf region. While the Washington invitation, submitted some time ago, still has not received adequate reactions, Iran and Russia have taken more concrete steps, in the form of signing a joint training agreement.Moscow’s agreement to engage in military cooperation with Iran, however, can be seen as a form of political support for Iran which continues to be under pressure from the United States. So far, Russia and Iran are known to have collaborated militarily in the conflict in Syria. Iran certainly is still waiting for Washington's reaction to this new military collaboration with Russia.For Iran, military cooperation with Russia was clearly carried out as an effort to offset the pressure of the United States. As for Russia, support for Iran can be seen as a step to maintain its position in geopolitics, especially in the Middle East region.

29
July


The punishment for sinking vessels that illegally fish in Indonesian waters does not seem to deter foreign fishermen. Recently, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) has again succeeded in capturing 6 foreign fishing vessels. Three vessels from Vietnam and 3 others from the Philippines were arrested in 2 different water locations due to illegal activities.
The three vessels from Vietnam transported 36 crews with Vietnamese citizenship. They were secured and then escorted to Batam Marine and Fisheries Resource Monitoring Base (PSDKP) for investigation process by Fisheries Civil Servant Investigators (PPNS). Meanwhile, 3 vessels from the Philippines, pump-boat along with 11 Filipino crew members were taken to  Bitung PSDKP Base in North Sulawesi.The capture of the vessels from Vietnam and the Philippines increased the number that had been captured by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries for illegal activities in Indonesian waters. At least, from January to the end of July 2019, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has succeeded in capturing 43 foreign fishing vessels.In accordance with the Indonesian Fisheries Act, the perpetrators could face a maximum jail sentence of six years and a maximum fine of Rp. 20 billion. Meanwhile, the captured vessels can be auctioned or sunk if they already have legal binding.However, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries prefers to sink the illegal vessels because the foreign vessels that have been auctioned off have the potential to be re-used for similar crimes. Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pujiastuti once revealed that illegal fishing vessels were auctioned at a price of only Rp. 100 to Rp. 500 million. Meanwhile, their profits reached Rp. 1-2 billion from once fishing by stealing in the territory of Indonesia. This means that their activities are truly detrimental to the state.The decision to sink foreign vessels carrying out illegal fishing in Indonesian waters is viewed as an appropriate choice. However, this action does not seem to bring about a deterrent effect. This is evidenced by the arrests carried out recently by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.In addition to giving punishments, it seems that diplomatic steps also need to be strengthened so that the relevant countries provide education to their citizens about the dangers and legal consequences of illegal fishing activities. In fact, diplomatic relations need to be enhanced so that illegal fishing in other countries' waters can be avoided.

26
July

Finally, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel or commonly known as Boris Johnson, is officially becoming the new British Prime Minister, replacing Theresia May who resigned as British prime minister due to the Brexit impasse on 7 June. Some people say May was forced to resign because she failed to deliver her Brexit plan to leave the European Union. In an internal vote in the Conservative Party, Johnson won 92,153 votes and outperformed his rival, Jeremy Hunt, who is currently serving as British Foreign Minister, who won 46,656 votes. President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo expressed his congratulations to Boris Johnson through his twitter account, @jokowi on Thursday (25/7). He hopes that there will be an increase in bilateral relations between Indonesia and Britain and can strengthen relations between the two countries. United States President Donald Trump also expressed his congratulations and convinced that Boris Johnson would achieve the best results in his position as Prime Minister. A different response was seen from the congratulations expressed by Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif following the election of Boris Johnson in the internal vote of the British ruling party, the Conservative Party. Minister Zarif said that Iran is not seeking confrontation; Iran wants normal relations on the basis of mutual respect. This is related to Iran's insistence that Britain should release tanker after the British authorities seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of bringing oil to Syria. Minister Zarif accused the British move of being influenced by US President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the sound of worries was read in the congratulations delivered by European Commission Chairperson, Ursula von der Leyen who said there would be tough times awaiting Britain and the European Commission. In addition, the EU negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier also expressed the same concern. If Boris Johnson officially took office, his party would facilitate the ratification of the Exit Agreement and achieve true Brexit. Until now, the British parliament has rejected the Brexit Agreement. Britain should leave the European Union on March 29, 2019. However, this was rejected three times by members of the British parliament. Brexit was later extended to April 12, 2019 and eventually extended again until October 31, 2019. This could be even faster. In this position, Boris Johnson's political attitude triggers controversy. He promised to bring Britain out of the European Union (Brexit) until October 31, the deadline set by the European Union, whatever the way is. Several times, PM Boris Johnson emphasized that he would decide Brexit, both with and without agreement with the European Union. The statement sparked a fierce controversy. Because various economic institutions in the UK, including the Central Bank, have warned that Brexit without an agreement will cause the UK to suffer from a prolonged economic recession. Finally, to answer various predictions and worries, we just have to wait and see what will be done by the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Congratulation on leading the UK.

24
July



Britain has a new Prime Minister amid controversy over the way the country is out of
the European Union or Brexit. After winning the internal election, Chair of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, in accordance with the Parliamentary system, took office as Prime Minister. Before officially occupying his new position, Boris Johnson will be installed by Queen Elisabeth as head of state.In the the Conservative Party Chair's internal election Tuesday, July 23, Boris Johnson won a 66.4 percent vote to beat his rival Jeremy Hunt, who was serving as Foreign Minister. After the election results were announced, Jeremy Hunt immediately congratulated Boris Johnson on the victory. Congratulations were also conveyed by Theresa May who resigned from the position of Prime Minister some time ago.In his victory speech as broadcast by the BBC, Boris Johnson promised to take immediate action regarding the exit of Britain from the European Union, popularly called Brexit. Boris Johnson, who was once the Mayor of London, stressed that Brexit will be completed by 31 October. The Conservative Party politician also believes that he will be able to defeat opposition leader Jeremy Corbin of the Labor Party, and restore the glory of Great Britain.The election of Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister immediately received responses from the United States and Iran. In his congratulation message, President Doland Trump believes Boris Johnson will succeed. Previously Trump did provide support to Boris Johnson.From Tehran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran did not want to extend confrontation with Britain. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards last week held the British flagged Stena Impero super tanker. This problem is still unresolved because it involves other parties such as the United States and its allies.It is very possible that the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will concentrate on the issue of Brexit first to pursue the October 31 deadline. The political crisis that could threaten the UK economy after the referendum that caused Britain to leave the European Union must be resolved immediately. Regarding Brexit, Boris Johnson was determined to immediately execute it with or without any agreement. Boris Johnson's stance had previously invited protests from the Conservative Party which he now leads. The Conservative Party considers that if Britain has to leave the European Union without an agreement or no deal exit, it is feared there will be chaos not only in politics but also economically and socially. The British people are now awaiting steps to be taken by Boris Johnson, who has long been known as a controversial figure.

22
July

After reconciliation efforts between the camp of President Joko Widodo-Maaruf Amin  as the winner of the 2019 presidential elections and the camp of Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno as the loser, this could be said to be a success. Now, a new problem comes up among the political parties participating in the elections that have obtained huge votes, especially to determine who or which party has the right to serve the chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly -MPR.The Gerindra Party claims to be given the chairman of the MPR. According to Chairman of the Gerindra Party Central Board (DPP) -Sodik Mudjahid, this is not separated from the spirit of the reconciliation that was encouraged by President Joko Widodo and General Chairman of the Gerindra Party, Prabowo Subianto some time ago. Gerindra believes that the best composition of the 2019-2024 parliament is that its party will serve the chairman of the MPR. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) occupies the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives -DPR. Gerindra's wish certainly does not come up casually. Deputy Secretary General  of PDIP, Ahmad Basarah ever said that the possibility could occur in the deliberation process to elect the MPR chairman. PDIP has also opened up the possibility that the Indonesian coalition party -Adil Makmur, a coalition of Prabowo-Sandiaga’s supporters occupies the chairman of the MPR.However, the wish of the Gerindra Party was opposed by coalition parties supporting Joko Widodo-Maaruf Amin: the Golkar Party and the National Awakening Party (PKB). Golkar refused to give the chairman of the MPR  to Gerindra. Golkar's refusal is certainly not without reason. Chairman of the Golkar Party Central Board (DPP), Ace Hasan Syadzily confirmed that the position of the MPR chairman should have been given to the Golkar party which is the second winner of the seat of the House of Representatives -DPR. It should be kept in mind that the mechanism to elect the chairman of the MPR is carried out by deliberation to reach consensus. This means that a party is not as easy as claiming that its party has the right to occupy the chairman of the MPR. Truly, the reconciliation is important to maintain national unity, but it should not be misinterpreted as an effort of sharing power.

19
July

Turkey's decision to buy Russian-made S 400 missile makes the United States and NATO members upset. The United States said it would terminate   Turkey from a program to procure F 35 aircraft manufactured by the United States. From Ankara, it was reported that part of the S 400 missile system purchased by Turkey had started arriving in Ankara last week. Turkish President, Recep Erdogan said in Ankara that the S 400 air defense system will start functioning in 2020. The decision of Turkish President Recep Erdogan to buy the Russian S 400 air defense system has made NATO and the United States angry. Turkey is the only member of NATO that will fully utilize the Russian-made land-to-air defense system. Although Turkey's relations with NATO have begun to stiffen since last year's failed coup, President Erdogan's decision to use Russian defense technology could make relations worse. For NATO and the United States, the decision has hurt Turkey's commitment and position as a NATO ally for 65 years. The reason why Turkey finally diverted the procurement of its defense system to Russia was because the United States was slow to offer a missile defense system. While the military leaders of the United States considered that Russian S 400 air defense system is not appropriate or compatible with NATO defense systems. In addition, the United States military is concerned that the system will have an impact on the use of US F 35 aircraft. They worry that Russian technicians who will work in Turkey to accompany the use of the S 400 will steal the secret of the F 35 system. So far, Turkey has not responded to the threat of the United States which will terminate Turkey from the F 35 aircraft procurement program. The termination of Turkey from the F 35 program will certainly bring about an impact on Turkey. Because, in addition to ordering 100 units of F 35, Turkey also invests in the program, because the Turkish company has produced nearly 940 spare parts of F 35. President Erdogan's decision to buy the S400 from Russia certainly has been considered more carefully. The purchase of S 400 land-to-air missile equipment is not only about money and investment but also Turkey's determination to develop a more independent air-to-land defense. President Erdogan has taken an alternative to closer relations with Russia, as Turkish relations with NATO and the United States are strained.

17
July

Iran uses the nuclear issue in an effort to reduce pressure and sanctions from the United States. Tehran has threatened to reverse its nuclear program as before, before the 2015 nuclear agreement. The Iranian Atomic Energy Agency said it would reverse its nuclear program if the United States and its Allies were unable to find a way out to reduce pressure and sanctions imposed by the United States. A spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Behrouz Kamalvandi, as reported by the official Iranian news agency IRNA, expressed the threat  in the hope of encouraging diplomatic efforts. Tehran sees the need for diplomatic measures to overcome tensions, in particular relations with the United States, to avoid economic sanctions. As is known, after last year President Donald Trump declared his exit from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement, Washington has imposed more severe sanctions on Iran. If the threat of the Iranian Atomic Agency is realized, then the country will gradually produce nuclear exceeding the minimum agreed on 4 years ago, which is above 300 kilograms of its uranium reserves. Iran's threat to return to nuclear production as it did before the 4-year agreement came as a Beijing statement condemned Washington's policies. In his diplomatic statement in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused the United States of being the cause of the emergence of the Iranian threat. To reporters in Beijing on July 8, Geng Shuang said that Iran's nuclear crisis was caused by pressure by the United States. Although criticizing the United States, on the other hand Beijing also regretted Tehran's decision to return to nuclear production before the 2015 agreement. China is one of the countries that signed the Nuclear agreement carried out during the administration of Barack Obama. Iran's statement to no longer comply with the 2015 agreement was also addressed by European countries. Foreign Ministers of European countries specifically discussed the crisis of Iran's nuclear agreement at their meeting in Brussels on July 15. The statement of the PRC Government and the reaction of European countries, shows that Tehran's move to play a nuclear issue to open diplomatic avenues, has quite an impact. Although the United States itself has not shown any reactions  towards this latest development.

15
July

President Joko Widodo delivered his first political speech since being elected President in the 2019 Presidential Elections. This speech was delivered at the Indonesia’s Vision event which took place at Sentul International Convention Center in Bogor, West Java on Sunday night (07/14/2019).In his speech, President Joko Widodo said that nowadays, humans live in a very dynamic global environment. So, he appealed to the Indonesian people to create innovation and abandon old ways, both in managing organizations, institutions, and in managing the government. According to him, Indonesia must become a country that is more productive, competitive and flexible in facing these changes. To this end, he emphasized several major stages, including infrastructure development, human resources, opening widest investment to create employment, reforming the bureaucracy, and guaranteeing the use of the state budget which is focused and targeted.In the first period of President Joko Widodo serving as President, infrastructure development was one of his priorities because it was related to his Nawacita program, namely building Indonesia from the periphery by strengthening regions and villages.By improving the human resources, he pointed out in his political speech that human resource development must be carried out by ensuring the health of pregnant women, infant health, toddler health, and health of school-age children because it is the golden age to produce superior Indonesian people in the future.The investment sector is also an important stage. By attracting a lot of foreign investors and streamlining complicated licenses, hopefully, this can open employment opportunities to a great extent for the people of Indonesia.In the field of bureaucratic reform, President Joko Widodo ensured that there are no more complicated bureaucratic services. Because according to him, the speed of serving, and the speed of giving permit are the keys to bureaucratic reform.The final stage in his speech is a guarantee in using the focused and targeted state budget so as to have benefits and improve welfare for the people.President Joko Widodo’s political speech, ‘Indonesia's vision’ shows his seriousness in resolving problems and tasks that must be completed in the second period of his leadership. Hopefully, all the hopes and visions that have been affirmed in his speech can be realized towards a more advanced and prosperous Indonesia.

12
July

Tensions between the United States and Iran have not subsided. After imposing sanctions which also led to Iran's supreme leader, the United States is  planning  to mobilize other countries' support to put the military in waters near Iran. Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, stated Washington took the initiative to mobilize an international military coalition in the Strait of Hormuz and Bab El Mandab waters. These two areas are very important for ship traffic, especially tankers transporting  oil. The initiative of the US military to place an international coalition there  is said  to guarantee security and freedom of shipping. The idea of forming an international coalition came after a statement from Tehran that threatened to close the waters of Bab el Mandab. The threat was raised in reaction to US sanctions that prohibit the trading and shipping of Iranian oil. If the Iranian blockade is carried out, the trade traffic of around four million barrels of oil throughout the world through Bal El Mandab will be disrupted. The United States' invitation to secure the Strait of Hormuz and Bab El Mandab to this day, Friday, July 12 has not received any response. However,  Iran's threat to block El Bab Mandab can generate a broad  and different reaction, especially in countries with an interest in oil trading. Although not related to the Bab El Mandab closing  threat  or the initiative to mobilize an international military coalition, on Monday, July 8, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the unilateral intimidation by the United States had caused a violation of Iran's nuclear agreement. The statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman seemed to imply that Beijing's attitude towards Tehran was still soft. The same attitude is also shown by France. Emmanuel Bonne, adviser to the French President at a meeting with Secretary of the Iranian National High Security Council Ali Shamkhani, in Tehran Wednesday July 10 implies France's attitude towards Iran. As the Iranian news agency Irna reported, Emmanuel Bonne stated that Paris wanted dialogue and cooperation with Tehran to manage the crisis in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. Seeing China and France’s attitudes, the United States might need to work hard to realize the idea of forming an international military coalition to protect the Strait of Hormuz and Bab El Mandab.

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