Vol. II / No. 4 | April 2021

Mireille Marcia Karman, Rizky Widian
(Lecturers at the Department of International Relations, Parahyangan Catholic University)


The ongoing crisis in Myanmar has attracted various negative responses from the international community. As a fellow member of ASEAN, Indonesia has tried to solve the problem by persuading ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s partners, including the United States and China, to bring this issue to the upcoming ASEAN meeting. While seeking to maintain the ASEAN centrality, this effort is also seen as a strategy to prevent the possibility of turning the Myanmar crisis into a proxy battle between the United States and China. In this article, we offer an alternative suggestion that Indonesia should not only rely on ASEAN mechanism but also allow China to be the responsible great power by solving the crisis in Myanmar through a more involved direct diplomacy with Myanmar. In doing so, China would be the key player in maintaining the regional stability. By offering such suggestion, we believe that first, it is improbable to turn Myanmar’s issue into proxy battle between the 2 great powers since both countries have different level of interest in Myanmar. While China has a rather a lot at stake in Myanmar, United States does not partake any vital interest in or related to Myanmar. Moreover, Myanmar is not perceived as the most significant actor in the region and hence, encouraging China to play a bigger role in solving this crisis may not be seen as an immense threat to the United States’ position in the region.

Keywords: Myanmar, ASEAN, China, great power competition, regional stability