Indonesia announced that it will ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as soon as the United States does, signaling new willingness of a key non–nuclear-weapon state to strengthen the nonproliferation regime. That was the message of Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda at the Carnegie Endowment on June 8. Increased cooperation on nuclear disarmament is one part of the new comprehensive partnership between the United States and Indonesia, which will also cover democracy, human rights, and economic development, and allow the two countries to coordinate on regional issues, including the enduring standoff with the military junta in Burma (Myanmar).

“We share [President Obama’s] vision of a world in which nuclear weapons have been eradicated. We trust that he will succeed in getting the CTBT ratified—and we promise that when that happens, Indonesia will immediately follow suit.”

Other highlights:

  • Democracy: To preserve national unity in a country of enormous diversity, Indonesia is fine-tuning its democratic institutions through national and local dialogue, one example of which is the Asia-wide Bali Democracy Forum, which allows regional players to exchange best practice with democratic development.
  • Counterterrorism: To combat domestic Islamic extremism, which led most notably to the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesia has empowered moderate voices by strengthening democratic institutions and rehabilitating extremists through dialogue where possible.
  • Burma (Myanmar): Western-imposed sanctions on the Burmese junta aggravate the humanitarian crisis, and lifting the sanctions may induce the military rulers to open up. Neighboring countries must engage Burma more closely, while the international community should acknowledge that the separatist movement the junta faces is a legitimate concern.
  • Indonesia will closely follow the multi-party elections the junta has promised in 2010, and, depending on their outcome, may review Burma’s ASEAN membership.
  • ASEAN Evolution: As ASEAN moves toward becoming a single market by 2015, the organization—focused primarily on economic issues—must add political development to its agenda.
  • Asian Integration: ASEAN is working with northeast Asian countries to develop an East Asia-wide free trade area by 2012, encompassing ASEAN, China, Japan, and others, which would create a free trade zone with 3.5 billion consumers. 

Minister Wirajuda spoke at an event jointly sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment and United States-Indonesia Society. Doug Paal, vice president for studies at the Endowment, moderated the discussion.

“A few days ago in Cairo, President Obama invited the Muslim world to a partnership to address an array of critical issues: violent extremism, the Middle East situation, nuclear disarmament, democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights, and economic development and opportunity,” Minister Wirajuda concluded. “I am here to tell you that Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, has long prepared itself to answer President Obama’s call for partnership.”