Senior Research Associate, The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
The Nonproliferation Tiger: Indonesia’s Impact on Nonproliferation in Asia and Beyond
On February 7, 2012, Indonesia deposited its instrument of ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) with the United Nations. To commemorate the event, Foreign Minister Marty M. Natalegawa noted that with this action Jakarta showed “its commitment to realize the vision of a world without nuclear weapons.” The CTBT ratification, finalized by the Indonesian parliament in December 2011, was the culmination of over a year of affirmative nonproliferation activities undertaken by Jakarta. Apart from moving forward the CTBT ratification legislation, Indonesian officials have been very active in the last year with preparations for the March 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, taking responsibility for a working group focused on accelerating ratification and adherence to nuclear security-related treaties and conventions. Through this group, Jakarta is working with other members on model legislation to assist countries in implementing these international agreements. As the 2011 chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Jakarta played a key role in pressing wider acceptance of the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon- Free Zone (SEANWFZ) by the five recognized nuclear weapon states—China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. Although no longer chair, Indonesia will continue to be a critical influence on ASEAN activities related to nonproliferation and disarmament.
If Indonesia continues to play a positive leadership role on nonproliferation and nuclear security issues, its activities could improve Southeast Asian compliance with international treaties and regimes, and provide a positive model for the world’s developing economies. This brief will examine Jakarta’s nonproliferation and nuclear security policies to-date, and especially its recent positive activities. The brief also discusses challenges to increased cooperation. Indonesia has traditionally been skeptical about counter-proliferation and export-control related mechanisms such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540). Indonesia also has limited human capital and technical capacity relevant to nonproliferation and nuclear security. To the degree that international partners, such as the United States and the European Union, provide cooperative assistance projects to develop these assets, they will enhance Jakarta’s ability to play a positive leadership role on these issues in its region and the broader developing world.
Indonesia’s Nuclear Policies, Past and Present
Early in its post-colonial history, Indonesia’s leadership considered developing a military nuclear program. In the mid-1960s, President Sukarno, Indonesia’s leader from 1945 to 1967, stated his clear intention for his country to start its own nuclear weapons program, noting in July 1965 that “God willing, Indonesia will shortly produce its own atom bomb.” However, Sukarno’s vision never developed past the notional stage. When Suharto removed Sukarno from power in 1967, the new leader agreed that Indonesia’s nuclear activities should be placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, subsequently halting any efforts towards a military nuclear program. In 1970, Indonesia signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state, ratifying it in 1979.
In 1999, Indonesia became the first member of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol (AP). Jakarta considers the AP to be “an important tool … to monitor and verify compliance with the NPT” that should result in transparency of nuclear activities “which would contribute to regional peace and security, strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and facilitate cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” Apart from the NPT and the Additional Protocol, Indonesia is also a party to most international agreements related to nuclear safety and security including: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM); the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management; and the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
Much of Indonesia’s focus on international agreements related to nuclear safety and security derives from Jakarta’s nuclear energy development plans. The Indonesian civilian nuclear program began in the 1960s; however, Jakarta has still not committed to constructing a nuclear power plant. The main hindrance to Indonesia’s nuclear program over the last half century has generally been political and not technical. Indonesian nuclear authorities have been vigilant about ensuring their nuclear energy developments comply with international norms. Jakarta is generally recognized as having a well-developed system for protection and control of nuclear and radiological sources, especially in comparison with other regional players. For example, a 2001 mission from the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) praised Indonesia’s efforts to bring its nuclear industry into line with internationally recommended physical protection practices. Jakarta has also cooperated with the IAEA on an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR), including a self-assessment in 2009 to examine whether Indonesia had the nuclear infrastructure needed to embark on a nuclear power program. This report indicated that Indonesia had completed sufficient preparatory work on its civilian nuclear infrastructure. According to the IAEA assessment infrastructure issues, including nuclear energy-related laws, safety regulations, human resource capacity, emergency planning, and management of nuclear waste, are well-established in Indonesia.
The main barrier to the Indonesian leadership fully committing to commercial nuclear power has been a deep-seated public apprehension about the safety of nuclear power. Despite continuing public concern, the Indonesian government announced an energy policy in 2006 that included the construction of nuclear power plants. The 2006 policy document called for “new and renewable” energy sources—including nuclear—to make up 5 percent of the domestic energy mix by 2020. Initially, Indonesian nuclear authorities hoped to construct four nuclear power plants by 2007, with a completion date of 2016. However, political opposition (both in the executive and legislative branches), pushed back that start date significantly.
The Fukushima crisis further extended Jakarta’s timeline for building a nuclear power plant. Considering the prevalence of natural disasters in Indonesia —including earthquakes and tsunamis— the catastrophe Japan faced strongly resonated with the Indonesian public. A June 2011 poll illustrated how the crisis in Japan negatively influenced public opinion of nuclear power in Indonesia; the results of the survey indicated that 66 percent of Indonesians disapproved of nuclear power. Of those that opposed nuclear power development, 27 percent linked their perceptions to the events at Fukushima. Senior political leaders expressed similar skepticism. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in June 2011 that if his country “could build energy sources other than a nuclear energy plant, we will choose those kinds of energy sources,” pointing to fears about natural disasters as one important reason he remained concerned about the future of nuclear energy in Indonesia.
Although hesitation remains about committing to the construction of nuclear power plants in Indonesia, Jakarta has consistently strongly defended the right of all NPT members to access peaceful nuclear technology. Indonesian officials emphasize the primacy and equity of the so-called three pillars of the NPT—nonproliferation, disarmament and access to peaceful uses. As coordinator for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Working Group on Disarmament, Jakarta has consistently voiced the group’s concerns about the slow pace of nuclear disarmament, calling on all nuclear weapon states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals in an irreversible and verifiable manner. Indonesian policy places the three pillars of the NPT, and nuclear security assurances set forth in agreements such as the Bangkok Treaty, as being of primary importance for the international nonproliferation regime. Indonesian officials argue that more recent approaches to nuclear nonproliferation by a number of international actors, including the United States—and specifically emphasis on counter-proliferation, trade controls and nuclear security—should not become a “fourth pillar” of the regime.
Skepticism of New Initiatives
While Indonesia has been a leader in promoting the NPT and other international treaties, Jakarta is much less enthusiastic about efforts by states such as the United States to impose new nonproliferation and counter-proliferation requirements outside of universally negotiated agreements. While Indonesia submitted reports to the UNSCR 1540 Committee in 2004 and 2005, Jakarta has expressed skepticism about the need for extensive trade controls, especially in developing economies. Indonesian officials have generally argued that their country does not produce sensitive dual-use materials, and thus it would be detrimental to Jakarta’s trading position to establish strict controls on exports. Apart from controls mandated by the Chemical Weapons Convention (of which Indonesia is a member), and some regulations controlling trade in nuclear materials and radioisotopes, dual-use controls are non-existent in the Indonesian system. Jakarta has not developed the procedures or basic infrastructure needed to control the trade of sensitive materials. This poses a problem for foreign businesses trading with Indonesia, since items imported into the country for use in high-tech production facilities are currently unlikely to have viable re-export controls placed on them. Some within Jakarta’s policymaking structure recognize that securing sensitive trade is important for overall trade facilitation. However, there is still consistent resistance from the Foreign Ministry to new controls, based on a historical distrust of multilateral export control regimes, and disapproval of the way in which the UNSCR 1540 mandate came about.
Despite strong pressure from Washington at a time when the Indonesian government is looking to improve its relationship with the United States, Jakarta has been unwilling to participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Indonesia has consistently called into question the Initiative’s international legal stature—arguing as many PSI skeptics do that the U.S.-led initiative contravenes established maritime law, and particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), by denying the freedom of navigation that is instituted by UNCLOS. Indonesia has also expressed concerns that PSI would infringe on Jakarta’s sovereignty in areas such as the Strait of Malacca. Although some analysts have argued that these issues can be negotiated with Indonesian policy makers, Indonesian concerns about maintaining an independent foreign policy, combined with the common perception of the initiative as a U.S.-driven activity, are likely to stall direct Indonesian participation in PSI. That said, ad hoc cooperation with U.S. and other regional partners in PSI-like operations is not out of the question, and Indonesian officials have demonstrated a willingness to cooperate on maritime security issues undertaken on a multilateral level.
In contrast to its position on PSI, Jakarta has generally supported other international efforts to improve nuclear security. For example, Indonesia has played an important role in the run-up to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, leading efforts to create model nuclear security legislation. Officials in Jakarta see these efforts as essential in helping growing economies to comply with nuclear security best practices, since implementing the myriad of nuclear security-related conventions is difficult for developing states with limited resources and expertise. At the same time, Indonesian authorities have consistently argued that nuclear security should not be implemented in a way that disadvantages non-nuclear weapon states’ peaceful nuclear programs. At various international fora, including the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, Indonesia has emphasized that international cooperation in nuclear security should not hamper cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. At the 2010 IAEA General Conference, Indonesia spoke out against expanding the IAEA’s nuclear security program at the expense of its core activities, i.e., safeguards, safety, and the promotion of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Indonesia Taking the Lead: CTBT Ratification and Beyond
In a reversal of past policies, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa announced in May 2010 that his government would advance CTBT ratification without waiting for the United States to ratify the treaty. Foreign Ministry and other executive branch officials spent the next 18 months working with Indonesia’s parliament to secure ratification. Although some outside experts questioned whether Indonesia genuinely planned to ratify the CTBT due to parliamentary delays, Indonesian officials asserted that the amount of time required to ratify the treaty was not overly lengthy considering the realities of Jakarta’s domestic political system. One Foreign Ministry official noted that the CTBT was particularly important to Jakarta since the test ban was “Indonesia’s idea,” stemming from negotiations on the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which Jakarta ratified in 1964. Indonesia has sought to portray itself as a leader in the area of nonproliferation and disarmament, and saw ratification of the test ban treaty as a way of taking a principled stand on the issue of nuclear disarmament.
Jakarta also used its status as chair of ASEAN and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 2011 to further promote nonproliferation and disarmament issues in Southeast Asia. Although ASEAN is often portrayed as unproductive due to its strict rule-by-consensus approach to decision-making, the organization has sometimes advanced major policy initiatives when they are led by a member state with sufficient enthusiasm and influence. Indonesia was originally slated to assume leadership of the organization in 2013, but Jakarta made a special request of its ASEAN partners to swap with Brunei in order to assume chairmanship earlier. Although Indonesia provided a more diplomatic reason for this request, Jakarta wanted to avoid a possible vacuum in leadership at a critical juncture for ASEAN, which is moving towards greater integration over the next few years. Apart from advancing broader ASEAN integration issues, Indonesia also saw the 2011 chairmanship as an opportunity to place the promotion of nonproliferation and wider ASEAN adoption of the Additional Protocol on the organization’s agenda. According to one Foreign Ministry official, Indonesia wanted to “lead by example” on these issues.
As part of its efforts as chair of ASEAN, Jakarta pushed heavily for the acceptance of the Bangkok Treaty by the NPT-recognized nuclear weapon states. This treaty, which established the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) in 1997, obliges all ASEAN member states not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. The treaty further includes protocols intended for adoption by the nuclear weapon states that require the NWS to respect the treaty and to refrain from threatening to use nuclear weapons against any state party to the treaty or within the SEANWFZ. Ratification of the protocols by the five nuclear weapon states has been the primary nonproliferation-related objective of the ASEAN Secretariat since the late 1990s. However, none of the nuclear weapon states have signed the protocols, largely due to concerns about the extent to which the Bangkok Treaty extends the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the countries party to the treaty, potentially restricting the free passage of military ships through the region.
In November 2011, under Indonesia’s leadership, ASEAN announced that it had negotiated a tentative agreement with the five NWS that could clear the way for their acceptance of the Bangkok Treaty protocols. (In October, Indonesia and the P-5 had co-sponsored a resolution in support of the SEANWFZ in the UN General Assembly, giving Jakarta positive momentum moving into the November negotiations.) Although specifics of the deal have not been made public, all parties involved have referred to the negotiations as a success. According to a White House statement shortly after a meeting between presidents Barack Obama and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, “all sides have agreed to take the necessary steps to enable the signing of the protocol and its entry into force at the earliest opportunity.” According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, ASEAN and the P-5 “reached an agreement on resolving all the outstanding issues of the [SEANWFZ] Protocol,” and “according to relevant provisions of the Protocol, [the P-5] should assume the obligation of not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against the signatories to the Treaty upon signing and ratifying the Protocol.” Although Indonesian officials have portrayed the ratification of the protocols by the P-5 as being only “a matter of time,” it is unclear how domestic ratification procedures will ultimately play out in the NWS—particularly in the United States, where the Obama administration is likely to meet resistance from Congress. Despite unresolved ratification issues, a political commitment from all P-5 heads of state to work towards eventual ratification is a major Indonesian achievement in support of fulfilling ASEAN’s most prominent nonproliferation policy objective.
Looking Ahead: Helping Indonesia to Set the Stage for its Region
With its numerous recent nonproliferation achievements, Indonesia appears to be forging a path for others in its region to follow. As noted by Indonesian officials when announcing their CTBT ratification:
Countries must encourage one another to do the right thing. And on nuclear disarmament we are truly at a crucial junction right now in creating new momentum and new possibilities for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Indonesia’s efforts have also signaled to the NWS and other international players that the nonproliferation priorities of ASEAN and its member states need to be recognized. The acceptance by the P-5 of the SEANWFZ protocols—even if only in the form of a symbolic commitment—was a major accomplishment for Jakarta and the ASEAN Secretariat. Ultimately meeting the goal of NWS ratification of the protocols may enable the organization to focus additional time and resources on other nonproliferation issues that until now have received lower priority—including strengthening nuclear security culture and improving UNSCR 1540 implementation in the region.
Despite U.S. pressure, Jakarta is not likely to reverse its negative position on the Proliferation Security Initiative; however, Indonesian officials have appeared more open to UNSCR 1540-related activities in the last year. UNSCR 1540 implementation and follow-on issues related to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit may therefore be promising mechanisms through which to engage Jakarta in the coming years.
Although Jakarta was previously skeptical about giving UNSCR 1540 high implementation priority in its overall nonproliferation policies, recent discussions with Indonesian officials appear to point to a wider acceptance of the need for implementation of the resolution. This may in part be due to the positive momentum created by Jakarta’s recent activities, and the widely accepted renewal of UNSCR 1540’s mandate for another ten years, signifying that international focus on strategic trade controls as a tool of the nonproliferation regime is here to stay. This new openness to 1540 should enable international partners, including the UNSCR 1540 Committee, the United States, the European Union, and Japan, to cooperate with Jakarta on establishing a strategic trade control system that meets the needs of Indonesia’s rapidly developing economy. If successful, such cooperative activities could become a model for emulation in other Southeast Asian states, and Indonesia could use its influence within ASEAN and ARF to create mechanisms for wider 1540 outreach.
The momentum of Jakarta’s nonproliferation activities could also have a positive impact on international efforts in the area of nuclear security. The absence of a nuclear security culture in many ASEAN countries, especially as interest in nuclear power becomes more widespread, is a growing nonproliferation and security challenge that has received only moderate attention. While Indonesia’s nuclear security culture is still lacking in human and institutional capacity, other aspects of its nuclear program are well-established, providing a firm foundation for building a nuclear security infrastructure. International partners, including the IAEA, could assist Indonesia by continuing to cooperate on establishing a solid domestic nuclear security framework. As a follow-on to the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit, international partners could also work with Jakarta to support outreach efforts with regard to implementing and promoting the model legislation that Indonesian officials have helped to develop.
Indonesia has generally been more likely to accept (and ultimately work to implement), initiatives for which it enjoys some level of “ownership”—a point that is illustrated by Jakarta’s commitment to the test ban treaty. Therefore, partnering with Jakarta to identify and implement effective nonproliferation policies for the region would bolster the international community’s ability to build nuclear security capacity in Southeast Asia, and help establish Indonesia firmly as an international and regional nonproliferation leader.
 “FM Submits CTBT Instrument of Ratification to UN Secretary General,” Indonesian Foreign Ministry website, February 7, 2012, www.kemlu.go.id.
 Robert M. Cornejo, "When Sukarno Sought the Bomb: Indonesian Nuclear Aspirations in the Mid-1960s," Nonproliferation Review, Summer 2000.
 See “Protocol Additional to the Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” INFCIRC/283/Add.1, 29 October 1999, www.iaea.org.
 “Statement by Mr. Febrian A. Ruddyard, Representative of the Indonesian Delegation at the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” May 9, 2007, available via Reaching Critical Will website, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
 “IAEA considers RI ready to build nuclear power plant,” Antara News, December 16 2010, www.antaranews.com.
 “Nuclear Infrastructure Development in Indonesia” presentation by Adiwardojo of the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BAPETEN) at the IAEA Technical Meeting on the Introduction of Nuclear Power Programme: Management and Evaluation of a National Nuclear Infrastructure, 8-11 February 2011, IAEA, Vienna, www.iaea.org. The INIR indicated further that issues requiring more involvement from the operators themselves, such as reactor management and financing, were less-developed and in need of improvement.
 Michael S. Malley and Tanya Ogilvie-White, "Nuclear Capabilities in Southeast Asia," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring 2009.
 English version available at https://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/ins64284.pdf.
 Michael Malley, “Bypassing Regionalism? Domestic Politics and Nuclear Energy Security,” in Donald Emerson ed., Hard Choices: Security, Democracy, and Regionalism in Southeast Asia (Stanford University: 2008), p. 248.
 “Global Citizen Reaction to the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Disaster,” presentation of research by Ipsos MORI, June 2011, www.ipsos-mori.com. Ipsos MORI is a research firm based in the UK.
 “Indonesia leader in Japan skeptical of nuclear power,” Bangkok Post, June 18, 2011, www.bangkokpost.com.
 “Statement by H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement States Party to the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT),” May 3, 2010, www.un.org.
 Author’s discussions with Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Jakarta, February 2011.
 Author’s discussions with Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Customs officials, Jakarta, February 2011.
 Author’s discussions with international experts and Indonesian Customs, Tokyo and Jakarta, February 2011.
 Author’s discussion with officials from the Indonesia Ministry of Trade and BATAN, February 2011.
 See Charles Wolf, Jr., Brian G. Chow, and Gregory S. Jones “Enhancement by Enlargement: The Proliferation Security Initiative,” RAND Corporation, 2008, www.rand.org.
 Author’s discussions with Indonesian officials and foreign diplomats in Jakarta, February 2011.
 “Indonesia Says Limited PSI Participation Possible,” Global Security Newswire, June 7, 2006, www.nti.org/gsn.
 See Indonesia statement in the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the UN General Assembly, 4 November 2003, www.iaea.org.
 Indonesia Statement, www.iaea.org/About/Policy/GC/GC54/Statements/indonesia.pdf; and “Indonesia to prevent Washington’s Nuclear Summit from Limiting Countries Sovereignty,” Antara News, April 14, 2010 via https://embassyofindonesia.it.
 Sean Dunlop and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, “Indonesia Takes the Lead on the CTBT,” CNS Feature Story, May 4, 2010, https://cns.miis.edu.
 Author’s discussions with Indonesian officials, February 2011. Indonesia’s parliament—and its democratic system in general—is highly pluralistic and as such tends to move somewhat slowly in passing legislation, especially when the issues are technical in nature and have significant foreign policy implications.
 Author’s discussions with Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials, February 2011. It is notable that despite Jakarta’s ratification of the LTBT, President Sukarno was still considering a nuclear program at this time; see Robert M. Cornejo, "When Sukarno Sought the Bomb: Indonesian Nuclear Aspirations in the Mid-1960s," Nonproliferation Review, Summer 2000.
 The chair of ASEAN changes annually and the order is alphabetical. According to official statements, the request for the change to 2011 was based on scheduling concerns, as Indonesia is slated to host the 2013 APEC meeting. However, officials and experts in Indonesia indicated that Jakarta made the request due to concerns that other ASEAN states would not push important agenda items in a timely manner. In 2007, ASEAN member states agreed to the establishment by 2015 of the ASEAN Community, which would be able to respond to the increasing challenges in the region through “a closely integrated, dynamic and vibrant regional economy, deeper political and security cooperation and stronger socio-cultural linkages.” One observer noted that had Indonesia waited until 2013 to take the chair it might have been too late to put policies in place that would have assured meeting the 2015 deadline.
 Author’s discussions with ASEAN officials, February 2011.
 Author’s discussions with ASEAN officials, February 2011.
 “Nuclear nations to mull ASEAN nuke-free zone,” Jakarta Post, November 16, 2011, www.thejakartapost.com.
 “UNGA Endorses S.E. Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Resolution,” Asia Pulse, October 31, 2011.
 “East Asia Summit,” White House Fact Sheet, November 19, 2011, www.whitehouse.gov.
 “Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Remarks on the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty,” Chinese Foreign Ministry website, November 20, 2011, www.fmprc.gov.cn.
 “Entry into force of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty brought closer by Indonesia's ratification – CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth,” CTBTO Website, original December 6, 2011 (updated February 6, 2012), www.ctbto.org.
 For additional discussion of the recent developments in the SEANWFZ, see: Peter Crail and Xiaodon Liang, “Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and the Nuclear-Weapon States,” Asia Pacific Bulletin, February 7, 2012, www.eastwestcenter.org.
 Author’s discussions with Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials, January 2012, Monterey, CA.
 “Nuclear security culture” can be defined as a collection of attitudes and behaviors within organizations involved with implementing the physical protection of nuclear materials, either in facilities or in the trading system, which supports the fundamental principle of enhancing the security of nuclear materials.
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