Academic journal article Contemporary Southeast Asia

Timeline: US-Indonesia Relations

Academic journal article Contemporary Southeast Asia

Timeline: US-Indonesia Relations

Article excerpt

* 1945: Indonesian independence was declared on 17 August. The declaration marked the beginning of the Indonesian War of Independence, which lasted until 1949 when the Netherlands recognized Indonesian independence. The United States was among the first nations to extend diplomatic recognition and establish relations with independent Indonesia.

* 1950S: President Sukarno's leftward drift provoked fear in Washington that Indonesia might turn Communist. The covert support from the Unites States for rebellions in the Indonesian outer islands continued until a former US Air Force pilot was shot down in the Moluccas in 1958.

* 1963: The increasing strain regarding sovereignty over the western half of the island of New Guinea--an issue not addressed in the 1949 transfer of sovereignty--led Indonesia and the Netherlands to agree to US mediation on behalf of the United Nations. The resulting New York Agreement provided for the eventual transfer of the colony of Netherlands New Guinea to Indonesia and for a referendum on self-determination, which occurred in 1969 under Indonesian auspices and certified by the United Nations. The contested referendum gave rise to a Papuan independence movement.

* 1965: Responding to the Communists' abortive coup d'etat on 30 September, the Indonesian military launched a counter-coup that led to the ousting of President Sukarno. Major General Soeharto assumed the Indonesian presidency in 1968 and inaugurated the pro-Western New Order era.

* 1975: On 7 December, the day after President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had visited Jakarta, Indonesia invaded the neighbouring Portuguese colony of East Timor, where the leftist party Fretilin had become the leading political force. Indonesia annexed East Timor as its 27th province, and East Timorese resistance against Indonesian rule began. The United States never formally recognized Indonesia's annexation of East Timor, although the 2001 UN Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor notes that US "political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation".

* 1992: Responding to the 1991 Dili Massacre perpetrated by the Indonesian military, the US Congress cut off International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance to Indonesia. The IMET restriction to Indonesia was partially lifted in 1995.

* 1997-98: The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis hit Indonesia. The ensuing economic collapse led Indonesia to request stabilization assistance from the IMF that came with stringent conditions, which the United States supported but some have argued this has deepened and prolonged the financial crisis in Indonesia. The economic collapse and the attending US response led to strong Indonesian opposition to the so-called Washington Consensus.

* 1998: Marking the end of the New Order, President Soeharto resigned in May 1998 amid rioting and violence against Chinese Indonesians. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie's elevation to the Indonesian presidency after Soeharto's resignation heralded the start of the reformasi era. Habibie embarked on a series of US-supported political reforms that led to the legislative election in 1999, Indonesia's first free election since 1955, and called for a referendum to determine East Timor's future political status. …

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