Indonesia ATL: The Presidency of Try Sutrisno (1997-)

Will the projected nuclear power plant in Mount Muria (cancelled due to the Asian financial crisis) be built in this timeline?
I'm still meraba-raba, but my feeling is that the prospect is not so good for nuclear power. Probably will be the BJ Habibie-backed project that will not survive Try (ITTL he would already have been seen as lucking out that Try was willing to continue the IPTN in exchange for his support).
168: Countdown To Campaign
7th April 2002:
President Try Sutrisno tonight attended a special dinner at Balai Kartini attended by all of the PKPI’s current DPR Members both those who will retire at the end of the current term and those who will be running for re-election. First and foremost among those running for re-election was none other than Chairman of the DPR Harmoko himself.

Harmoko delivered a speech on behalf of the PKPI’s DPR members but ended up drawing the ire of the crowd by coming across sycophantic, referring to the President each time by his longform title of “General (Retired) Haji Try Sutrisno”. This became particularly jarring when Harmoko’s text called for him to say “We support Try Sutrisno, we love Try Sutrisno, and we want to re-elect Try Sutrisno”.

The President did better and reminded the audience of some home truths.

“You are the PKPI, you are not Golkar”, said the President “ABRI and the civil service and all the organizations will no longer be mobilized in your favor, victory is not guaranteed, you have to go out there and earn the election victory.”

8th April 2002:
Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications Oka Mahendra held a joint press conference with Chairman of ICMI Nurcholish Madjid. The latter introduced the “Petition of Thirty Five’s” initiative of buying a one-page ad on the nation’s major daily newspapers calling on people to vote. The ads will run everyday until Election Day and is the fulfillment of the request made by the President in February. Oka Mahendra praised it and called for the cooperation of the nation’s daily newspapers.

Arriving at his office, State Minister of Rural Development Feisal Tamin was asked about TVRI’s new program “Rural Progress” which begun airing the previous night. Feisal Tamin admitted that it was a program to highlight what the government has done in rural areas, which was considerable, but that it had nothing to do with the election coming up. The government has always cared about rural development.

9th April 2002:
Emerging out of a meeting with the President, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Army Chief of Staff TB Hasanuddin, and Chief of Police Ansyaad Mbai spoke to the press saying that the President spoke about security for the Election and beyond. Wiranto said that the President has approved of Commander of Kostrad Srijanto and the Commander of the Mobile Brigade Firman Gani as the Commander and Deputy Commander of the Operation Command to maintain security throughout the election and until the 2003 MPR General Session.

In a joint press conference, Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Minister of Trade Anthony Salim, and Head of BARANTIN Ali Rachman announced that Indonesia will start importing meat again from Europe after imposing a ban due to the foot and mouth disease. Ali Rachman said that special care will be given in screening meat coming in from outside the country.

Sarwono said that one thing that he can take a note of in the last 24 months is that living standards in Indonesia has risen and one manifestation of that is the increased demand for meat. This is why in the last 12 months, the government has directed the populace to diversify their protein intake by eating fish though the main aim is increasing the population of cows and chickens.

10th April 2002:
Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi, and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat had another negotiating session with PT. Freeport Indonesia in the morning. The four emerged with happy faces but told reporters who were present that they wanted to safe the news for the President.

They reported that Freeport was shifting on royalties and is offering to increase the royalties it will pay the government. If in the past, Freeport has paid 1% royalties for gold and silver as well as 1-3% royalties for copper depending on market price, it is now offering to increase the royalties to a fixed 3.5% for copper, 3.25% for gold, and 3% for silver.

While the President thought it through, Djiteng reported that from his sources in the oil and gas industry, it seems that PT. Freeport Indonesia has been placed under renewed pressure in recent days by both its head office in the United States and the White House to complete a deal that would be favorable to Indonesia. Edi reported that it seems this pressure was applied after the events in Myanmar.

The President thought about the pressure that PT. Freeport Indonesia was under and asked what can be done to take advantage of the extra pressure. Djiteng almost drooled hearing that and put forward some proposals:

*Royalties of 7% for copper, 6.5% for gold, 6.25% for silver.
*Freeport to go through another environmental impact analysis (AMDAL) and make sure its results are adhered to.
*Freeport to expand its existing smelter in Gresik or build another smelter in Irian Jaya
*The present contract will last until 2021, but extension of the contract will not be an entitlement of Freeport’s but will be subject to mutual agreement by both the government and Freeport.

The President approved of this and the meeting come to an end.

“Let’s try to agree on terms before the end of the election campaign”, added the President “The signing can come later, but the agreement of the terms should be reached before the election campaign.”

“Now we’re talking, Mr. President”, said Harsudiono happily.

11th April 2002:
The President chaired a cabinet meeting attended by Vice President JB Sumarlin and the entire cabinet in which the following were discussed.

*Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti reported that the Indonesian economy is strong and energetic in the lead up to the election. Confirming Dorodjatun’s report, Minister of Industry Siswono said that any industry related to election merchandise are doing well (eg. textiles for t-shirt and printing). Golkar’s dissolvement and the emergence of the PKPI, the PKPB, and the PNI has meant that there are no recycled merchandise and has led to a demand for the production for election merchandise. Siswono said that these industries have also seen fit to employ extra people to cope with the increased demand.

*Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono reported that businesses and investors are taking up the government’s credit policies for priority sectors in the economy. For the moment, those wanting to set up budget hotels and investing in plantations are the ones wanting to take advantage of the said policies. Head of BKPM Mari Pangestu reported that the BKPM are receiving investment applications in these areas.

*Wiranto and Minister of Civil Service Reform Kuntoro Mangkusubroto reported that pocketbooks have been issued to ABRI personnel and civil service personnel respectively to provide them with guidelines as to how to behave during the elections campaign.

*Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman reported that ministers wanting to take part in the campaign can apply for 1 day’s leave each week but that otherwise, ministers make take part in campaign activities so long as they don’t take place during government working hours. The President reminded all ministers that the work of governing must be disrupted by the election campaign, that services provided must resume as normal and that ministers should be able to separate what constitutes an official activity and a campaign activity.

12th April 2002:
The President, accompanied by Harsudiono Hartas and Edi Sudrajat, today conducted an inspection tour in Jakarta. First stop was the KPU where they were welcomed by the Chairman of the KPU HBL Mantiri. As luck would have it, the last class for the last batch of balloting committees was being held. The people being trained here will be the running the polling stations on Election Day. The President shook hands and said that the successful conduct of the election rests on them.

From the KPU Building, the President and his two companions visited the PKPI National Headquarters. There, welcomed by Chairman of the PKPI Basofi Sudirman and Chairman of the PKPI National Campaign Hendropriyono, the President inspected the PKPI t-shirts that will be distributed for the campaign.

“These are the President’s dual function, as both an impartial organizer and as partisan participant”, joked Harsudiono “But on a more serious note, we do want this election to be legitimate. Nothing like the sham election like the one which occurred in Yugoslavia earlier in the year.”

14th April 2002:
In a meeting at the PKPI National Headquarters, the President named Chairman of the PKPI Basofi Sudirman, the Chairman of the PKPI National Campaign Hendropriyono, Harsudiono Hartas, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, and Minister of Transmigration Indra Bambang Utoyo as members of a Campaign Day-to-Day Supervisory Committee.

“The five of you negotiated the PKPI-PPP Coalition a few months ago”, the President “Now you’ll meet everyday throughout the course of the campaign, review how things are going, and make sure the campaign is on track.”

In turn, Basofi and Hendropriyono provided a final situation report prior to the campaign revealing that the PKPI has continued to lose votes again. The other members of the Campaign Day-to-Day Supervisory Committee seemed to ready to hear though it did not make them any less grim to hear the news.

Afterwards, the President had a private lunch at the PPP National Headquarters with Basofi and Chairman of the PPP Matori Abdul Djalil. Matori talked to the President that the PPP was ready but did not want delve into details considering that Basofi was present though Basofi shrugged it off. Matori reiterated that the PPP will not attack the President or the government or the PKPI and its candidates during the campaign and Basofi promised likewise.

15th April 2002:
State Minister of Urban Development Ridwan Hisjam, State Minister of Regional Autonomy Oemarsono, Governor of West Java Muzani Syukur, and Governor of East Java Haris Sudarno came out of a meeting with the President. Ridwan said that the President has said that East Java’s Gresik-Bangkalan-Mojokerto-Surabaya-Sidoarjo-Lamongan (Gerbangkertosusila) Metropolitan Area is not just a provincial priority but will also receive national priority. Ridwan reported that the President has also approved of Bandung Area, comprising Bandung, Cimahi, and Sumedang be designated a Metropolitan Area.

It was a long day for the President. His final meetings of the night were with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Minister of Legal Affairs Marzuki Darusman and Wiranto. Edi Sudrajat sat in as the President asked both of them about developments regarding Myanmar’s Shwe Mann. Wismoyo said that it appears that Shwe Mann’s men are slowly smuggling themselves and their families across the border to India and then from India, they hoped to be able to get to Indonesia. The Indian Government is aware that this is going on and the aim of where they want to go and are silently taking them in but it will be sending Minister of Defense George Fernandes to Malaysia next week and one of his agendas will be to talk to the President about what to do with them.

Ginandjar advised the President to be careful. The advice already coming in from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian Embassy in Myanmar was that if the upcoming meeting in Kuala Lumpur did not end well, Chairman of SPDC Khin Nyunt was ready to recall Myanmar’s Ambassador to Jakarta. If it is known that Indonesia is taking in Lt. Gen. Shwe Mann, that may be grounds for Khin Nyunt to sever relations with Indonesia.

“There’s also another thing to consider”, said Ginandjar “If we take them in, what makes us any different from the countries taking in the various separatist groups? One would think we lose the moral high ground if we took Lt. Gen. Shwe Mann and his men in. Countries harbouring the OPM would point at the fact that we’re harbouring Lt. Gen. Shwe Mann and co. when we confront them about not doing anything about the OPM.”

There was quiet in the room for a time, then Marzuki spoke up. Immigration coming under his purview, Marzuki asked how many people will be coming to Indonesia supposing that the government takes them in. Wismoyo glanced at Wiranto.

“Shwe Mann tells me 13,000-14,000 military personnel plus 16,000-17,000 of the wives and children of those who are married, not all are married of course”, reported Wiranto.

“I’m sure the Minister of Legal Affairs would agree that this is a politically-charged humanitarian crisis”, declared Ginandjar.

“I’m not at a stage where I want to place labels, Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs”, replied Marzuki.

The meeting was dismissed not long thereafter, not so much because they had reached a dead end but because the President got the sense that Wismoyo and Wiranto had something they did not want to tell the meeting. He deliberately held them back when the meeting broke up.

“13,000 to 14,000 is the size of a Kostrad Division, Mr. President, we can integrate them into ABRI as an Auxiliary Force” said Wiranto when he was asked “Their Army, Navy, and Air Force are represented so we can spread them across our Army, Navy, and Air Force.”

“Is there anything else I should know?” asked the President.

“There are personnel from their Directorate of Defense Industries among those Shwe Mann is evacuating from Myanmar, Mr. President”, said Wismoyo “People who know about Chinese weapons systems because Myanmar’s bought some weapons from China to not say anything about weapons designs”

The President nodded at the extra considerations he now had to weigh on the table.

“I will see both of you again before I leave for Malaysia”, he said.

16th April 2002:
The President, accompanied by Harsudiono Hartas held a special lunch attended by Chairwoman of the PNI Megawati Soekarnoputri, Chairwoman of the PKPB Tutut Soeharto, Basofi Sudirman and Matori Abdul Djalil.

At the conclusion of the lunch, all four chairpersons of the four political parties held a joint press conference. Matori acted as the spokesperson saying that all four party chairpersons and their parties are committed to a peaceful election campaign, a peaceful Election Day, and a peaceful post-Election climate once the results have been announced. Matori further adds that they are committed to respecting the results of the elections.

When taking questions from members of the press, it was Megawati who provided the highlight.

“It’s been nearly 6 years since I was removed from the leadership of the PDI and nearly 6 years since my supporters were removed from the political system for supporting me”, said Megawati “Now our wait is over, now is the time to run the strong campaign that we would have run in 1997. Merdeka!”

17th April 2002 (Day 1 of the Election Campaign):
Overnight, it was as if banners, posters, and flags with the logos of the political parties sprouted from the ground. All over Indonesia, campaign paraphernalia appeared everywhere. Members of the political elite, wearing campaign gear, bumped into each other at airports as they headed off around Indonesia to sell the message of their parties.

“This is a historical election, one that will confirm the arrival of the new political party system”, said Political Observer Andi Mallarangeng “The greatest omission in this picture will of course be Golkar, the 6-time election winner but nowhere to be seen in the current election…”

Tutut had just landed in Denpasar, Bali for her first campaign stop. She was taking a rest in the Airport’s VIP Lounge when she noticed that on the television, there was the sight of Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja.

“Due to the importance of the Kualanamu Airport project in Medan to national development and the non-performance of the contract to build this airport by the contractor, the President has given his approval for me to cancel this contract”, announced Soerjadi Soedirja “The Department of Transportation will in the near future invite tender applications for the construction of this airport…”

Tutut looked around and saw her staff trying their best not to make eye contact with her even as they judged how she would react. It made sense that they would do that, the company that just found its contract to build the new airport in Medan is hers. Tutut looked at her staff and gave them the mysterious smile she had learned from her father.

Don’t worry, Mas Try, I’m not taking you lightly, but my turn to strike again is coming…ready or not, here I come…

The Election Campaign has begun, folks, and lots of things are on Try’s plate.

It is interesting to wonder how PKPI members ITTL process and perceive their party's idea. I think OTL Golkar, going into the first Election in the Reformasi Era knew things were never going to reach 60% or 70% of the votes again. ITTL, without May 1998 and the political turbulence, I guess subconsciously the PKPI guys still expect to do nearly as well as Golkar because they still get shocked at the idea that they're not going to get 60% much less 70%. The PKPB guys would probably be more accepting of the idea that they won't get 60-70% because they're not the governing party.

Tutut’s company being the original contractor for Kualanamu comes from

Meat as a purchase power indicator is a very interesting detail. Maybe you should consider widening the basket of meat suppliers, like Uruguay, Brazil and most of the Southern Cone.

Also, i guess the rupiah is still following the apreciation path.
Meat as a purchase power indicator is a very interesting detail. Maybe you should consider widening the basket of meat suppliers, like Uruguay, Brazil and most of the Southern Cone.

Also, i guess the rupiah is still following the apreciation path.
IIRC latam beef was banned at the time because of the foot and mouth disease plague prevalent there
IIRC latam beef was banned at the time because of the foot and mouth disease plague prevalent there
Thats why i said basket. Europe has a mechanism, the Hilton Quote, which is used to procure almost 50K tones of meat from various countries - usually the largest meat suppliers. If some countries couldnt fulfill the quote, others step up to do it.
169: Where To Get Votes From
Will response to your comments later but for now...

18th April 2002 (Day 2 of the Election Campaign):
Leader of the PKPB in the DPR Hartono immediately came to Chairwoman of the PKPB Tutut’s defense as he campaigned in Riau today. He said that all those who want to invest or sign a contract in Indonesia should beware because the current government can just cancel it for a vague reason.

Chairman of the PPP National Campaign/PPP DPR Member Hamzah Haz ran into some grief campaigning in West Nusa Tenggara when PKPB sympathizers interrupted his campaign calling him an opportunist for criticizing the Government’s stance on 9/11 and then joining the Government in a coalition. What riled up the PPP crowd was when the PKPB sympathizers called the PPP an opportunist party. Authorities had to step in and prepare a fight.

PNI DPR Candidate Fadjroel Rachman said that the proceeds of the economic growth will be better used for the welfare of the people if it was utilized to be a national social insurance system rather than merely for defense.

19th April 2002 (Day 3 of the Election Campaign):
Governor of Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, State Minister of Poverty Alleviation GKR Hemas, and Secretary of PKPI Joyokusumo launched the PKPI’s campaign in Yogyakarta. On this occasion, Hamengkubuwono called on the people of Yogyakarta to pick those with a proven track record and those who had given good years to Yogyakarta’s tourism industry.

The President’s went to Friday Prayers at the Presidential Palace with Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar and Commander of ABRI Wiranto. At lunch afterwards, Wiranto reported that Shwe Mann had crossed the border from Myanmar into India and that Wiranto will go to India the next day on a trip where one of the items on the itinerary is to meet with Shwe Mann. The President told Wiranto to ask Shwe Mann why Indonesia should to take Shwe Mann and his men and their families in. Shwe Mann has to justify himself for wanting to seek refuge in Indonesia.

“Then ask him to make these two guarantees: first, that he will not denounce the Gen. Khin Nyunt’s regime from Indonesia and second, that he will not use Indonesia as a place from which he will attack Myanmar”, said the President.

“And if he makes those two guarantees we will take him and his loyalists in?” asked Wiranto.

“Get him to make those two guarantees first”, said Try.

20th April 2002 (Day 4 of the Election Campaign):
Minister of Social Affairs Meutia Hatta received a strong reaction and welcome as she campaigned in Bengkulu today. Against the advice of her advisors, Chairwoman of the PNI Megawati Soekarnoputri orders that PNI resources be directed to Bengkulu because she also wants the PNI to score a victory in her mother’s home province.

The President and his entourage arrived today at Banjaran Village at Batang, Central Java. Accompanied by Minister of Agriculture Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, State Minister of Rural Development Feisal Tamin, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat and Governor of Central Java M. Ma’ruf, the President participated in a paddy harvest. Then with Head of BPN Jusuf Kertanegara, he handed out land certificates to the locals.

The locals asked some tough questions, including what has the President done for rural areas in the current term. The President highlighted the electrification of rural areas saying that this has meant people can be more productive and have a higher living standards. He also added that the land certificates will provide more legal certainty for the rural areas. The President felt he had answered the question well but could not shake off the feeling that the crowd was not satisfied.

From Banjiran, the President and his entourage took the short trip to the toll road nearby. This time with Minister of Public Works Rachmat Witoelar and Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo by his side, the President inaugurated the following:

*The Pejagan-Pemalang Toll Road
*The Pemalang-Batang Toll Road
*Expansion of PT. Primatexco’s Batang Textile Factory
*Polytron’s Kudus Sidorekso Factory
*Polytron’s Sayung Factory

There were a lot of kudos to be paid, most notably to the Kuwaiti Government which had invested in the two toll roads and also to the three private companies which have expanded their factories. The President said all of this represented the vibrant state of the Central Java economy and that now, Central Java has both the infrastructure and the production facilities to support that growing economy. The President highlighted the toll roads saying that all that remains is for the Semarang-Batang Toll Road to be completed for road users to have a direct route from Jakarta to Semarang by land.

The journalists covering the visit had a lot of questions to ask. The first question the President received was how did he feel going into “Tutut Territory” for the first time during the election campaign? The President said that he governed for all and that the did not want to take or give any territory.

About the cancelling of the Kualanamu Airport in Medan contract, the President denied that it was done out of bias and argued that the handing out of government contracts is governed by equal opportunity, fairness, and transparency. He said that it was not good for the country if a contractor be allowed to get away with not fulfilling their contract.

The Presidential entourage then arrived in Semarang, capital of Central Java. After resting at the hotel, the President made a surprise appearance at Mall Ciputra Semarang in the evening. He shook hands with the mall patrons but faced questions such as why Semarang is not developing as fast as Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya. The President explained that the government is trying its utmost to tap into Central Java’s economic potential. This seems to calm them down.

Back at the hotel, the President had dinner with Sarwono, Siswono, and Rachmat Witoelar. Edi Sudrajat sat in on the dinner turned meeting. Sarwono said that the Campaign Day-to-Day Supervisory Committee agreed that the PKPI had gotten off to a strong start. The cancelling of the Kualanamu Contract has reminded voters of the Government’s integrity. Sarwono also said that PKPI’s DPR candidates had also started strong, highlighting in particular the positive reaction that PKPI DPR Candidate Susi Susanti is having wherever she’s going.

The President had other concerns and asked if people, especially those in rural areas, are perceiving that the government is doing is relevant to them.

“A few weeks ago, when I was in a village in South Sulawesi and today in that village as well, I had people talking to me like the Government hasn’t done enough for villages”, he explained “What’s happening here?”

“We have to admit, Mr. President that the other side has run a strong campaign focusing on rural areas”, replied Siswono “But I think, if we take the time to explain things to people in rural areas, more often than not they understand.”

“That said, I think the PKPI’s best bet is to focus on people in cities and consolidate their support there.”, said Sarwono “That’s not to say that people in the rural areas shouldn’t count, it’s just the fact that the typical PKPI voter tend to be young adults, newly-weds or people young families who work office jobs or own small businesses, they don’t want Soeharto’s status quo but don’t want radical change either, they’ve become affluent on the back of our nation’s economic growth since 1999, and they have an instinctive understanding of what it is that you are trying to do. More often than not these people are found in cities.”

21st April 2002 (Day 5 of the Election Campaign):
This being Kartini Day, the campaign’s theme was about women. Both the PKPB and the PNI’s campaigns for the day focused on how a vote for them meant that Indonesia was one step closer to having its first female president.

The President meanwhile continued his Central Javanese roadtrip noting that there were a lot of Tutut and PKPB billboards along the Semarang-Solo Toll Road. At Salatiga, he made a stopover and made a surprise appearance at a PPP campaign event there to the cheers of the audience. In keeping with the Kartini Day theme, State Minister of Female Empowerment and Children’s Welfare Khofifah Indar Parawansa spoke about the Abolition of Domestic Violence Law and the increased awareness of violence about women and what to do about them. Khofifah also highlighted the presence of women ministers, women heads of agencies, women members on Bank Indonesia’s Board, and a woman deputy attorney general.

Also there at Salatiga, which happened to be his hometown, was none other than Chairman of the PPP Matori Abdul Djalil. After the campaign event was over, Matori posed for pictures with the President. The President told Matori that he looks very healthy to which Matori said that he wanted to still be around for a long time. After that the Presidential entourage departed.

Arriving at Solo, the Presidential entourage headed for the Solo Balapan Train Station. There, accompanied by Minister of Transportation Soerjadi Soedirja, Minister of Tourism Soeyono, and State Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Cacuk Sudarijanto, the President inaugurated:

*The Kutoarjo-Purwosari-Solo Balapan Railway Track which is now a dual track line
*The New Terrminal Building for Solo’s Adisoemarmo Airport
*The Tawangmangu Souvenir Market

It was a packed morning and for a change of pace, the President and the First Lady paid a visit to Chairman of the DPR Harmoko’s house in Solo. Harmoko had invited the President for a private meal, just the two of them and their wives, and the President had accepted. After the meal, Mrs. Harmoko gave the First Lady a tour around the house leaving just the President with Harmoko.

Harmoko thanked the President for taking his remarks a few months back about Central Java being a battleground province seriously. The President thanked Harmoko about his comments about the PKPB’s focus on rural voters and his recent experience.

“Well, Mr. President, I will continue to insist on the importance of rural voters”, said Harmoko “As much as the Government has its core constituents in the cities, most of our voters are still rural inhabitants. You can say they’re unsophisticated, irrational, whatever, they have the numbers. Win the rural areas, if the core constituents are truly core constituents their support should already be secure. Take it from someone who use travel around Indonesia on Safaris every Ramadan.”

The two discussed various issues both national and international as well as various policy areas. Harmoko seemed to know a lot about various issues and the President complimented him on being knowledgeable. Harmoko looked flattered.

“I suppose being a reporter exposes you to a lot of things”, said Harmoko “But it’s my time as minister of information that really made me know a lot of things because I had to speak about a variety of things after those cabinet meetings.”

“Though you would always say that you’re speaking “According to the President’s directives” right in case you got it wrong?” joked the President as Harmoko laughed.

The President was enjoying his time and feeling comfortable with Harmoko. He weighed things for a bit and whilst not telling him about the Shwe Mann situation, told him about the strong possibility of OPM presence in pacific and how this presented a dilemma on where Indonesia should focus its foreign policy energies.

“The only option now is to go along with the ride and not force things until the answer presents itself, Mr. President, that’s the way I see it” said Harmoko “Whatever that answer is, the DPR under my chairmanship will continue to support you, whether that be in the current term or the next.”

The President chuckled at both Harmoko’s encouragement and the latter’s subtly telling him that he wished to be re-elected as Chairman of the DPR.

At the conclusion of the meeting, there was a photo-op as both men tried to brush off questions about what was being discussed. Edi found that the President was in a great mood after his chat with Harmoko. From Harmoko’s house it was off to Solo’s Adisoemarmo Airport and the flight home to Jakarta.

22nd April 2002 (Day 6 of the Election Campaign):
It was early in the morning when the President and his delegation arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport to depart for Malaysia. At the Airport’s VIP Lounge, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita watched the President being briefed by Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo like a boxer being coached by his second.

“Keep a poker face, Mr. President”, said Ari “Khin Nyunt’s an intelligence officer, he’s going to want to sniff out if you or any of the others know where Shwe Mann is.”

Edi Sudrajat’s phone rang, it was Chairman of the PKPI National Campaign Hendropriyono. Hendropriyono said that the President should take a look at what was on the television. Edi rushed to the President and found that he was already watching the television. Tutut was holding a press conference from Cendana Street.

“A few weeks ago, I had been invited by the Malaysian Government to attend the Installation of Malaysia’s monarch, the Yang Dipertuan Agong and I had initially said that I would attend”, she said “But I just got off the phone with Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia to inform him that I would not attend because my priority right now is at home with the Indonesian people and with the PKPB’s campaign…”

“Is there any way to cancel the trip now, Mr. State Secretary?” asked Hendropriyono “The President’s going to get hit with “He’s too busy with foreign policy” attacks in the next few days.

“My priority is Indonesia’s national interests and I will be where I need to be to serve those interests”, said the President “I will go to Malaysia.”

I think it’s been mentioned earlier in the TL that Central Java is going to be a battleground province. This is why Try’s there for two days and inaugurating projects both days.

The highlight here is the difference in approach of getting votes within the PKPI. One approach wants the PKPI to consolidate its constituents which is mainly in the cities and one approach wants to go after the voters in the rural areas.

The Try Regime and the PKPI being things that appeal to Indonesians living in cities is something that I wanted to do reflect on a contrast in Try and Soeharto’s background. Soeharto was a village boy and this was reflected in him enjoying support in rural areas among farmers while Try, though far from affluent, was a city boy being born to an Ambulance driver and his wife in Surabaya. I would say that it is a nod to my parents. I remember being a kid in the mid-90s and my parents' concluding that the New Order should "loosen up" and "clean up" but not get swept away by radical change because that would just be “unpredictable”.

Some spotlight on Harmoko and some things in his conversation with Try there referring aspects of his OTL life. There is unfortunately no youtube videos of him speaking after cabinet meetings, but I’m sure the Indonesians following this TL who are old enough to experience the New Order can back me up that holding a press conference to speak about what Soeharto has approved in a cabinet meeting is how Indonesians best remember Harmoko. “According to the President’s directives” is his OTL catchphrase.

Harmoko’s desire that the PKPI get the rural vote is based on how as the OTL Chairman of Golkar, he’s famous for his travels around Indonesia to interact with voters during Ramadan. For whatever reason these travels are known as safaris. Some footage of him when conducting these visits can be found on

His house in Solo doesn’t exist in OTL anymore because it was burned down in May 1998.
Wow integrating Myanmar Anti PRC to ABRI / TBI would make Indonesia truly head to head with RRC. RRC stance would truly become more aggresive.
Meat as a purchase power indicator is a very interesting detail. Maybe you should consider widening the basket of meat suppliers, like Uruguay, Brazil and most of the Southern Cone.

Also, i guess the rupiah is still following the apreciation path.
Well noted. Is there a specific date where food and mouth ended in Latin America? In Europe they’ve declare it safe by early 2002 but what about in Latin America?

The Rupiah is in the range of Rp. 3,970-Rp. 4,000= $1. Domestic investors are taking advantage of it by expanding and setting up factories etc. but in the background there’s whispers that they better to set up their businesses now while the government’s cleaner in case they lose the legislative election (due in May 2002) and in case Try doesn’t make it through the presidential election (due in March 2003 when the MPR meets).

Wow integrating Myanmar Anti PRC to ABRI / TBI would make Indonesia truly head to head with RRC. RRC stance would truly become more aggresive.

Glad you picked up the potential for increased strength.

The PRC’s dilemma ITTL is that they want to assert themselves but if they become aggressive, it strengthens Indonesia’s “Come on ASEAN, let’s get together and take on China” argument. At the same time doing nothing is not an option. Had there not been a coup in Myanmar, Myanmar was going to join the Indonesia gang. If Myanmar joins the Indonesia gang, Indonesia controls the majority in ASEAN.
Well noted. Is there a specific date where food and mouth ended in Latin America? In Europe they’ve declare it safe by early 2002 but what about in Latin America?
I dont have exact dates but around 2001 and between 2003 and 2005 in Latin America.
Glad you picked up the potential for increased strength.

The PRC’s dilemma ITTL is that they want to assert themselves but if they become aggressive, it strengthens Indonesia’s “Come on ASEAN, let’s get together and take on China” argument. At the same time doing nothing is not an option. Had there not been a coup in Myanmar, Myanmar was going to join the Indonesia gang. If Myanmar joins the Indonesia gang, Indonesia controls the majority in ASEAN.
Indonesia just need to be truly careful when rebuild military and civil whether on weaponry system, human resource, industry, infrastructure and raw material. Well as RRC, Aussie, and Malaysia become potential threat then path of strengthening is clear. Indonesia need to integrated Western and Russian weaponry with AGat . Kekeke no matter what TNI must operate Destroyer with powerful AAW, BVR Heavy Fighter, stand off missile (KH-22, Storm Shadow, KEPD Taurus) and Strategic Bomber
The beginning of the little cold war between Indonesia and its gang with PRC.
This scale was not little cold war anymore but mini confrontation. Damn without good proper coast guard there would be a lot of illegal sailing from RRC. Indonesia still did not have proper coast guard with standard equipment. Japan can be used as standard.
170: Southeast Asian Stand-Off Part I
22nd April 2002 (Day 6 of the Election Campaign):
Chairwoman of the PKPB Tutut Soeharto’s campaign took her to Central Java where large crowds flocked to wait for her in a province that was considered to be a PKPB Stronghold. She channeled her father, first taking part in a harvest and then taking questions about agriculture from the local farmers in front of the cameras. The TPI, the television channel which she owned, broadcast live pictures of Tutut speaking to local farmers in parallel with images of Try’s car arriving at Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s Installation in Kuala Lumpur. Speaking from the TPI’s studio as a guest, Chairman of the PKPB National Campaign Prabowo Subianto said that the nation can see for itself which one of Tutut and Try has prioritized the Indonesian people in the current situation.

It was not all fun and games for Try. As he got out of his car with First Lady Tuti Setiawati, an audible boo was heard from the crowd gathered there. Try did his best and tried to ignore the boos by putting on a smile. The installation ceremony would be a blur for Try considering that his reason for being there was not at all related to the installation. He was only too glad by the time he got to his photo-op with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, this meant that it was time to return to the hotel for his first real meeting of the day.

Lunch was with Indian Minister of Defence George Fernandes who had attended the ceremony on behalf of India. Fernandes spoke about India and Pakistan’s standoff. How Chief Executive of Pakistan Aziz Khan had asked for Chinese mediation upon sidelining Musharraf, how India had in turn asked for Russian mediation because the United States was too busy in Afghanistan, and how the United States had scrambled to get involved after the Yugoslavian Election and the coup in Myanmar.

Fernandes conveyed Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s apologies for not being able to secure Indonesia’s involvement in mediating between India and Pakistan’s standoff saying that China and Pakistan were adamant that Indonesia would not be involved. Fernandes said that Vajpayee also apologized if India’s efforts to convince Myanmar that their security interests are best served by joining an Indonesian-led bloc help push Khin Nyunt to move against Than Shwe.

Try said he understood India’s position adding that he too apologized that by attempting to establish closer relations with Pervez Musharraf it had, it had helped cause him to be sidelined and replaced by a new Pakistani regime that was more hostile towards India.

Then Fernandes moved on to the crux of the matter. In the days after the coup in Myanmar, an organized influx of refugees started to flow over the Indian border from Myanmar. Organized because these refugees seem to be able to cross over at the right time. When Indian immigration was able to apprehend some of these refugees, the truth was finally revealed: that these refugees were members of the Myanmarian military who had refused to support the new regime, who is still loyal to Than Shwe and was now under the command of Shwe Mann, and that their aim is to secure passage to Indonesia. Fernandes added that Shwe Mann is now present in India in a safehouse.

“We’ve kept their arrivals under wraps as best as we can and have denied all knowledge when the Government of Myanmar have come to make their enquiries”, said Fernandes “We’ve done this because we want to reiterate that India needs partners to help keep China’s power in check and that one of those partners is Indonesia.

The Indian Government, however, wishes to know what the Indonesian Government’s next step will be given Shwe Mann’s own desire that he and his followers will eventually depart for Indonesia and given the presence of Commander of ABRI Wiranto in India to meet Shwe Mann.”

“I thank the Indian Government for its candor but would now have to apologize in advance for asking for India’s patience”, replied Try “In consideration to the election campaign that is occurring in Indonesia at the moment, it will be at least after the election before I can inform the Indian Government of what the next step will be.”

Fernandes said he understood Try’s position. The discussion then moved on to other topics. Fernandes conveyed Vajpayee’s message that in response to recent developments in Myanmar and their increasingly common strategic interests, that another visit might perhaps be in order whether that be Vajpayee to Indonesia or Try to India. Try said he agreed. The meeting did not last long after that because Fernandes needed to catch the flight back to India.

That night, there were more ceremonies as Try attended a banquet to celebrate the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s installation. The ASEAN leaders were there but to Try’s frustration he could no more than nod at them for they were spread around the room in tables comprising the top officials of Malaysia’s various states. Try sat at the table which Sabah’s top officials sitting around it. Try was polite as Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah Sakaran Dandai and Chief Minister of Sabah Chong Kah Kiat talked to him about Sabah but felt that the day’s events reminded him too much of his vice presidency, plenty of events to attend but with little to do.

At the end of the banquet, there was another photo-op with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong Fauziah. Try also shook hands and had his photo taken with Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak. Najib told Try that they had much to talk about and Try agreed with this.

Try was only too glad when he returned to the hotel and found his ministers waiting for him at his suite ready to start the meeting. Sitting in chairs and couches around the room were Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Minister of Economics and National Development Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo, Minister of Trade Anthony Salim, and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat.

The meeting began by discussing economic agenda for what was being dubbed the Unofficial Summit but which all ASEAN countries were taking seriously enough to bring full-sized delegations as though for an actual summit.

Dorodjatun reported that the Indonesian delegation should expect AFTA to be discussed again in the next few days and for member nations to begin lowering trade barriers again. Ginandjar said that Indonesia’s stance has not changed from the 2001 ASEAN Summit: lowering of tariffs to begin immediately, AFTA to be implemented in full in 2011 or 2012, and Indonesia’s participation to be conditional on the cessation of ASEAN+3. Dorodjatun cautioned that Indonesia needed to proceed carefully with this and make sure other ASEAN Nations do not fall into the “Indonesia is the most prosperous in the region but it’s not sharing that prosperity with others” narrative Malaysia is trying to promote.

Try then asked that if Indonesia started to lower tariffs again to fulfill AFTA or to fulfill its APEC goals, what would the consequences be.

The argument now was between Siswono and Anthony Salim. Siswono said that Indonesia is beginning to shift to improve its productive capacities rather than just merely consuming under the current government. Opening Indonesia’s market now will cripple this shift because either local businesses are still not in a position to compete or consumers will choose imports. Anthony countered that lowering trade barriers will push down production costs of goods manufactured and make Indonesian exports cheaper to not say anything about getting access to other Southeast Asian markets. Anthony said that both are needed given that the Rupiah is strong and Indonesians exports are more expensive. Siswono argued back that the strong currency would not last for long. Anthony countered that imports are still required to help produce goods, Siswono agreed but said that it’s not wise to be “flooded” with imports.

“If they bring AFTA up, what are we going to say?” pressed Try.

“What about if we lower trade barriers just for Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, and Vietnam, Mr. President?” asked Edi.

“Speaking of which, this informal summit wants to discuss why we’re only abolishing exit taxes for Indonesians wishing to visit Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, and Vietnam”, reminded Dorodjatun.

“I’m sorry, there’s must be some diplomatic nuance that I’m missing here”, said Siswono “But why do I feel like there’s some people that want to take aim at us at this informal summit? Makes me think it’s a mistake to attend this summit in the first place.”

“After the President’s strong words last month, to not attend risks being thought of as not showing good faith”, said Ginandjar when the other ministers seemed to agree with Siswono.

“The Minister of Industry and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are both correct”, said Try before laying down his instructions “We’ll throw it back to Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar to agree that there will be no more ASEAN+3 meetings and outside this summit, we’ll do what the State Secretary suggested and lower trade barriers for our…er…what do we call this group of five nations?”

“The Malaysian media have nicknamed us “The Jakarta Bloc”, Mr. President”, replied Edi.

The meeting broke up but it was not over for Try, Ginandjar, and Edi who remained in the room. After Dorodjatun, Anthony, and Siswono left, Chief of ABRI Intelligence Agency Ian Santoso Perdanakusuma, who had come along for the trip, announced that he and his men had finished setting up a secure line before stepping outside the room. Then a call from Commander of ABRI Wiranto came in. Try took the call with Ginandjar and Edi listening in on the other phone in the room that he had met with Shwe Mann that day in New Delhi in a safehouse set up by the Indian Government.

“Shwe Mann is saying that the benefits for Indonesia if he and his men were allowed in is that he will be bringing personnel and information with him, Mr. President”, reported Wiranto “He said the personnel will add to ABRI’s capability if they are converted into auxiliary forces and information…well…he’ll be bringing a lot of operations and planning officers from their General Staff who know about how the Tatmadaw operate to not say anything about engineers from their defense industry.”

“This is all well and good but can he make the guarantees that I want him to make?” asked Try.

“That’s the thing, Mr. President”, said Wiranto “He said that in exchange for what he will be bringing to us, he would like to be allowed to establish a government-in-exile. He also proposed that you cease recognizing Khin Nyunt’s regime and recognize this government-in-exile as the legitimate Myanmar Government and this way you will get a majority in ASEAN.”

There were a lot of guffawing in the room at that. Wiranto advised Try not to take this offer.

“I agree”, said Try “You tell him everything will be for nothing if we took that road.”

Try paced around the room holding the phone to his ear.

“What do you suggest we do, General?” asked Try.

“I just would like to ask, Mr. President, why is it important that Shwe Mann not form a government-in-exile or denounce Khin Nyunt’s regime if we were to take them in?” asked Wiranto “Denouncing Khin Nyunt’s regime is precisely the kind of thing that people in Shwe Mann’s position would do.”

Try sat down.

“Throughout our history we’ve faced separatist rebellions, communist coup attempts, and Islamist insurgencies” began Try “We’ve been successful enough times that on occasions these rebels and subversives have looked for refuge in another country. Now these other countries, to our frustration, would not only take them in but allow them to conduct their anti-Indonesian activities.”

Ginandjar looked at Try at that moment thought to himself that this was not a man to be underestimated.

“If we allow Shwe Mann to do what he wants to do, we’re practically saying to these nations who have taken in the separatist, communist, and Islamist remnants that it’s okay to take them in and allow them to conduct their activities” explained Try “Because when we make our protest to them about what they’re doing, they’ll say that we’re doing the exact same thing with Shwe Mann and his loyalists, we're allowing them to conduct their activities against Khin Nyunt's regime, and they would be absolutely correct.

In other words, General, we’ll be needing this ability to protest when we knock on the doors of our Pacific neighbours and tell them that they are harbouring the OPM.”

“I understand Mr. President”, said Wiranto.

“Tell this to Shwe Mann when you meet him: if they can make the guarantees that I’ve asked, if they will agree not to form a government-in-exile, I will ensure that their presence in Indonesia can be officially and openly declared and that they are all under the official protection of the Indonesian government”, replied Try “And no one will be able to question this state of affairs because our decision to take them in will be considered our internal affairs and no-one can interfere with them.”

Wiranto accepted the President’s instructions as orders and said that he will be speaking to Shwe Mann again before he left. Try then hung up.

“If I may say something, Mr. President”, began Ginandjar “You’re promising Shwe Mann that if he agrees to your conditions, you’ll take him and his loyalists in and no government in Southeast Asia will question us on that.”

“You told me in your briefing notes that Khin Nyunt will ask ASEAN to recognize his government and not interfere in Myanmar’s internal affairs” replied Try as he sat down and scribbled something down “Well, let’s ask something in return from him.”

“How we should go about doing what you suggested, Mr. President?” asked Edi “I can’t imagine going around that meeting saying “Hey, allow us to let Shwe Mann in our country”.”

“We won’t say it like that”, replied Try as he finished his scribble and handed it over to Edi “Make sure what I wrote here gets worked into the speech tomorrow, in the mean time, I’d better get some rest.”

As Try disappeared into his room, Ginandjar looked over Edi’s shoulder at the scribble:

“Indonesia asks that Myanmar gives it guarantees to other ASEAN member states not to interfere in the internal affairs of other ASEAN member states and what other ASEAN member states perceive to be its internal affairs.”

The date of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s installation is as in:
171: Southeast Asian Stand-Off Part II New
23rd April 2002 (Day 7 of the Election Campaign):
What was being deemed as an ASEAN Informal Summit gathered in one of Kuala Lumpur’s five-star hotels. As one by one the leaders began to arrive, President Try Sutrisno and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ginandjar Kartasasmita found themselves huddled with Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra and Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Surakiart Sathirathai. They were talking about various other matters when Try noticed the way Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak and Chairman of the SPDC Khin Nyunt were staring at them.

“Why are they looking at us like that, Mr. Prime Minister?” asked Try.

“All of ASEAN are wondering where Shew Mann and his supporters are, Mr. President. And from what I’ve gathered at the banquet last night, they think that I have let Shwe Mann and his supporters into Thailand with your support.”, replied Thaksin “Frankly, in the current situation and Myanmar being just across the border from us, I wouldn’t dare to take in Shwe Mann and his supporters because that would just provoke Myanmar.”

“We can assure you they’re not in Indonesia either”, said Ginandjar.

“Where do you think Shwe Mann is?” asked Prime Minister of Vietnam Phan Van Khai, appearing out of nowhere and joining in the conversation.

“Well, you won’t find him in Thailand, the only other countries with borders with Myanmar are China and India”, replied Thaksin “India’s probably a likely bet.

Phan Van Khai then looked at Try as though trying to read his mind. Try used the poker face again.

“Our Politburo met just before I departed for Kuala Lumpur”, said Phan Van Khai when Try did not respond “We’ve agreed that the principle of non-interference in other countries’ notwithstanding, that Shwe Mann and his men would be a useful asset to counter China’s power.”

“They’re in Vietnam, then, Mr. Prime Minister?” prodded Try.

“Well, if they are in Vietnam, I am not about to reveal their whereabouts, Mr. President”, said Phan Van Khai with mischievous smile “What I have been briefed to say is that whereever Shwe Mann and his men are, as long as they have been taken in by Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines or Laos, the Vietnamese Government will give its full support.”

It was mid-morning when they all met. In addition to Try, Thaksin, and Phan Van Khai, there were Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak, Prime Minister Singapore Goh Chok Tong, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, President of the Philippines Joseph Estrada, Prime Minister of Laos Bounnhang Vourachith, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, and last but not least Chairman of Myanmar’s SPDC Khin Nyunt. The heads of governments were accompanied by their ministers of foreign affairs and close aides. Secretary General of ASEAN Rodolfo Severino also attended.

Najib opened by thanking the leaders for gathering at short notice and thanking Ginandjar for helping to ensure that they all were gathered there. He then proceeded to say that it was “regrettable” that events in Myanmar had unfolded the way they did and that all nations in the region had a right to be concerned. But that ultimately nations in the region must observe the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and recognize the new regime in Myanmar. He then allowed Khin Nyunt to speak.

Khin Nyunt apologized for the “public way our nation’s internal affairs had been solved” and that he had to take the necessary steps to solve it. Khin Nyunt said that China’s support was something which they gave out of their own accord, he had never solicited it. In his conclusion, Khin Nyunt asked that all ASEAN Members understand Myanmar’s position, that his position be recognized under the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, and that Myanmar be allowed to “consolidate its internal position considering that certain members of the previous regime and their supporters that are still unaccounted for”.

Edi gave Ginandjar a pat on the shoulder for this. The Department of Foreign Affairs had been correct, Khin Nyunt was going to ask for non-interference as he goes on the hunt for Shwe Mann and his followers.

It was at this point that Khin Nyunt scanned the room for the other leaders’ reaction including Try’s. Try kept on repeating to himself that he had not made a decision yet on Shwe Mann as Khin Nyunt gazed at him.

Seemingly dissatisfied with the reaction of the other readers, Khin Nyunt handed over the floor. There were a variety of responses, from Thaksin’s concern that such events happened across the border from Thailand, to Hun Sen saying that Cambodia understood Myanmar’s position, to Bolkiah saying that while Brunei was not happy at China’s backing of Myanmar, ASEAN nations had to live with the reality of the new regime.

Try watched as Khin Nyunt observed the other ASEAN leaders make their speeches while Ginandjar and Edi had a discussion behind him.

“He’s looking frustrated, he’s not getting what he wants”, said Edi “I think we can say for certain Shwe Mann and his loyalists are not in any of the other Southeast Asian countries.”

“But we need to tell the President not to make his request, that will draw suspicion on us”, countered Ginandjar.

Try was listening to Edi and Ginandjar chat behind him and was so engrossed in their discussion that he had to be called a few times before he realized it was Indonesia’s turn to speak.

Try began by apologizing for his strong words on 28th March but said that he stood by the principles he was speaking on behalf of.

“When I say that we should work together to stand up against by outside powers in Southeast Asia trying to influence the course of events in our regions, I say it out of respect for our forerunners who had gathered in Bangkok to form ASEAN, forerunners which also includes the Father of the Honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia”, said Try as Najib’s face visibly soured “The Bangkok Declaration states that the nations which have participated in the formation of ASEAN have done so out of a determination “to ensure their stability and security from external interference in any form or manifestation”. If we simply accept what had happened in Myanmar, we are risking that stability and security by allowing external interference to happen.”

Try said that Indonesia would not interfere in Myanmar’s internal affairs but that this should not imply recognition of the “new reality” as said recognition of this reality means accepting that that an external power supports the new regime in Myanmar. The only way that Indonesia can accept the “new reality” in Myanmar would be if it rejected China’s support, both moral and material.

Then came an awkward silence. Having made a strong statement about not accepting the new regime unless it rejected China’s support, Try dithered about whether or not he should made the request that Myanmar practice the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other ASEAN Nations and what said nations “perceive to be its internal interests”. After some seconds, Try concluded his speech.

“This is good”, said Ginandjar to Edi “If we make the request we’ll draw attention to ourselves.”

Edi tried to keep a poker face when Try turned around to look at him. He scribbled down a note and passed it to Try:

“This is worse than that time when a bunch of officers and officials came to us and asked us to deliver a message to President Soeharto urging him declare his unwillingness to be nominated for the presidency in 1998. We said sure we’ll do it but we never followed through”.

As first Laos, then Singapore, then the Philippines made their speeches, Try began feeling down on himself for not following through on what he had originally wanted to say.

Then came Vietnam’s turn. In a tough speech, Phan Van Khai that while it was too late to stop what had happened in Myanmar, what had happened there could not be allowed to happen again. Phan Van Khai called on all ASEAN nations to band together in the face of such external interference. But that was not all.

“Above all, we in Vietnam are willing to apply the principle of non-interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs”, said Phan Van Khai “But in return, we ask that Myanmar respect the principle of non-interference in other ASEAN members’ internal affairs and what other ASEAN members consider to be their internal affairs.”

“All attention in the room piqued at this wording. Asking for non-interference in the internal affairs was understandable, but what did non-interference in what other member nations “consider” to be their internal affairs” mean?

Everyone in the room, except perhaps the Thai and Indonesian delegations, had begun the meeting with the assumption that Lt. Gen. Shwe Mann and his loyalists were in Thailand with Indonesia giving full backing to this arrangement. Now that assumption had shifted in Vietnam’s suspicion. Gen. Khin Nyunt certainly thought so. He bluntly asked Prime Minister Phan Van Khai whether what Vietnam perceives to be its internal affairs also includes letting “unauthorized people” in the country.

Both to ease the tension that had become thick in the room and also to speak up for Singaporean interest, I asked and was given permission to speak. I told the meeting that Singapore accepts all kinds of people visiting Singapore for medical tourism including people who are not exactly on the best terms with the ruling regimes in the country. As long as these medical tourists are not using their visit for a political purpose, Singapore believes that other ASEAN countries are not in a position to determine who Singapore allows or does not allow in the country. Considering that the matter will concern foreigners but because it also concerns Singapore’s authorities, it could be defined as matter which Singapore consider to be its internal affairs.”

Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story

Try got scribbled notes from Edi (“You’re getting bailed out here, now lift yourself up out of the hole”) and Ginandjar (“This is it, Mr. President, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar are not going to antagonize Singapore if they don’t want Singapore to join us”) and then asked to speak.

“I would like to express my support to the sentiments given by the Prime Minister of Vietnam and the Prime Minister of Singapore”, said Try “So long as those taken in are not trying to take political advantage, then the matter of who is allowed or not allowed into country should be considered a nation’s internal affair…if the Chairman of the SPDC wishes to have his internal affairs respected then he should respect the internal affairs of other nations.”

Not long thereafter the meeting ended and the leaders all flooded out of the room. After lunch, the 10 nations met again. This time the ministers of foreign affairs were out of the room to work together on formulating a joint statement from the meeting that occurred. Try was accompanied by Minister of Economics and National Development Planning Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, Minister of Industry Siswono Yudohusodo, and Minister of Trade Anthony Salim, and Edi for this meeting. The other leaders also brought ministers with similar responsibilities for this economically-oriented meeting.

This time Singapore was not a friend. Goh banded together with Bolkiah. Both made similar statements saying that they had adopted the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN), a classification guide of goods and commodities in Southeast Asia, to show their commitment to the AFTA and demanded to know when the other member nations will also begin implementing AFTA. Najib Razak countered that it was all up to Indonesia but reminded that Indonesia had held AFTA “hostage” at the last ASEAN Summit by making its acceptance to the resumption of AFTA’s implementation conditional on ASEAN accepting the cessation of the ASEAN+3 meetings.

“Indonesia’s position and reasoning remains the same”, began Try “But we would also like to be constructive and propose that India be included in the ASEAN+3, making it an ASEAN+4. If this is agreed upon, implementation of AFTA can resume again.”

Then Khin Nyunt began speaking in quite sharp terms saying that the Indian Government had been “pushing” Gen. Than Shwe to join an Indonesian-led bloc within ASEAN and that this was part of why he had to make his move.

“There, there, General Khin Nyunt”, began Najib “I think we all know what’s going on here, Indonesia wants to decide who can or can’t come to an ASEAN Summit, Indonesia wants to apply discriminatory policies which favors only ASEAN Nation which agree with it stance of various issues. Oh yes, I think we know what’s going on here.

Earlier, the Bangkok Declaration, which my father helped to formulate was cited. I agree completely that ASEAN must be on guard against external interference but we must also be on guard against those within ASEAN, those which, it must be said, harbor hegemonic ambitions.”

A chill ran through the room and everyone looked at Try for his reaction. Try himself had a benign smile on his face though he was shaking inside and struggling to keep his cool. Behind him, Try’s ministers struggled even more to contain their anger.

The discussion on AFTA ran into a dead end and that was the end of the meeting. There was a photo-op with all 10 leaders and then Try began farewelling the other leaders, telling the other leaders of the “Jakarta Bloc” countries that he will keep in touch. Though the Informal Summit was ending the next day, the Indonesian delegation was departing early, there being an election campaign at home. After that, Try made a farewell call to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Syed Sirajuddin.

On the Presidential Airplane, Try, Ginandjar, and Edi held a three-way meeting. Edi told Ginandjar about what happened in the meeting which Ginandjar did not attend. Ginandjar told Try that he did the right thing keeping his cool. Try however, was more interested in the wording for the joint statement regarding Myanmar.

“We did it, we got the wording we wanted, Mr. President”, Ginandjar reported “Myanmar guarantees that it would take the stance of “non-interference in the internal affairs of other ASEAN member nations and what ASEAN member nations consider to be its internal affairs”.

“The agreement for the wording was unanimous?” asked Try.

“It was, Mr. President”, replied Ginandjar "It would not make sense at all for any nation to leave an opening for other nations to interfere in its internal affairs."

Not long after that, a call arrived on the airplane. It was Commander of ABRI Wiranto, he had once again met with Shwe Mann.

“Mr. President, I’ve explained to him the points you explained to me yesterday and briefed him about developments from Kuala Lumpur”, said Wiranto “He has said that he accepts your conditions and that he is at your disposal.”

Try and Edi shook hands with each other and then with Ginandjar. Ginandjar had disagreed about taking in Shwe Mann and his loyalists but he well-practiced at smiling even when he felt other things inside.

“What will be your next orders, Mr. President?” asked Wiranto.

“We’ll work out the details over the coming weeks with various departments”, replied Try “But for now, you can tell him that we will be taking Shwe Mann, his men, and their families into Indonesia in the very near future.”

The OTL Bangkok Declaration can be found at

Try and Edi being asked by officers and officials to tell Soeharto not to renominate for president in 1998 is based on Juwono Sudarsono’s (OTL Minister of Defense 2004-2009, ITTL Ambassador to the UN 2001-) anecdote which can be found Juwono said he did not know if Try and Edi conveyed the message in Soeharto but here, I speculate that Try and Edi did not.

Vietnam sticks its neck out here. It doesn’t care where Shwe Mann and his loyalists are so long as they have ended up with a Jakarta Bloc country. And yes, what just happened here is that ASEAN just signed up to a statement which would allow Indonesia to take in Shwe Mann and co. without being questioned by the other Southeast Asian nations.

Singapore is showing that it's not taking sides here, siding with the “what other nations consider their internal affairs” statement but asking other nations to get on with AFTA.

ASEAN did not blow up but things are clearly not well here...
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Just finished reading this pretty much from start to finish and I'm proud to say I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Our country, without the lost 15 years of Mega's arrogance and that serenading twit SBY. The Rupiah at 4k to the USD, first Christian Vice President, first Chindo cabinet minister 10 years early and a Salim to boot, at the head of ASEAN and enough confidence and credibility to look both China and the US in the eye and ready to play them one against the other, and a Soeharto in jail.

I'll just say that I don't think China pre-Olympics and Great Recession would be so obvious in throwing its weight around, it's not Jiang's style.
Just finished reading this pretty much from start to finish and I'm proud to say I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Our country, without the lost 15 years of Mega's arrogance and that serenading twit SBY. The Rupiah at 4k to the USD, first Christian Vice President, first Chindo cabinet minister 10 years early and a Salim to boot, at the head of ASEAN and enough confidence and credibility to look both China and the US in the eye and ready to play them one against the other, and a Soeharto in jail.

I'll just say that I don't think China pre-Olympics and Great Recession would be so obvious in throwing its weight around, it's not Jiang's style.
Thank you and glad to have that effect. It is amazing how much a few weeks can make a difference. I picked Soeharto dying in November 1997 as the POD not only because there was the speculation that he had a stroke during this time but also because in November 1997, the crisis was not out of control and there's still the possibility of getting the situation under control. Had I chosen the other candidate for this TL's POD (Soeharto dies from stroke after bowing down to sign the agreement with the IMF in January 1998), the Indonesia we have ITTL is probably also a dream.

Now regarding China.
Short Answer:
It's not Jiang's style but then he did not have to deal with a strong Indonesia OTL.

Long Answer:
You are correct that they have become more assertive earlier. I thought about it a bit but finally decided to head in this direction with them because of the following factors:

-OTL, even though they were not asserting themselves China was already showing a preference for the world becoming multipolar and to see Russia as a partner who shares the same goals. In July 2001 they were already signing a treaty of friendship with Russia. ITTL, this process of becoming more assertive was accelerated by the emergence of Primakov as President of Russia who was hostile to the idea of a unipolar world led by the USA.

-The tendency of wanting to interfere in SE Asian affairs had also existed as well. In OTL, they were suspected of trying to influence the course of the 2001 Vietnamese Communist Party National Congress so that the General Secretary's position remained in the hands of a pro-China official . In OTL 1997, when Hun Sen sidelined Norodom Ranariddh in Cambodia, China also declared itself to be supportive of Cambodia

-Indonesia getting out of the Asian Financial Crisis and trying to be more assertive in Southeast Asia and on the international stage more generally which changes China's considerations.