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Germany and Indonesia agree to strengthen defence ties; South-East Asia giants also make similar deal with Australia

Tan KW
Publish date: Tue, 06 Jun 2023, 10:48 PM
Tan KW
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JAKARTA, June 6 : Germany and Indonesia agreed on Monday to strengthen their defence cooperation and plan a joint military exercise with other countries in the region.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius discussed the growing ties in a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Prabowo Subianto, in Jakarta.

"We talked about the possibility of having a deal about some submarines. We were talking about the two minesweepers which are already on the way to Indonesia,” Pistorius said.

Germany and Indonesia are also planning a joint military exercise with other regional partners, but no details have been disclosed.

Both ministers attended the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Asia’s annual defence and security forum, where US. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday criticised China's "bullying or coercion” in the Indo-Pacific region, including tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Pistorius on Sunday said Germany is committed to contributing to peace and security in the region.

"And we are ready to strengthen our engagement in the years to come,” Pistorius said.

Subianto said at the forum on Saturday that the security situation in the Indo-Pacific, especially in East Asia, is dominated by tensions resulting from the rise of China as a major power in a world which has long been led by the United States.

"History teaches us when a rising great power meets a preeminent global power, tensions do arise and the historical record shows many of these conflicts result in open conflict, kinetic conflict. However, this rivalry, some have suggested, has turned into a new Cold War. It is being called the Second Cold War,” Subianto said.

Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Li Shangfu said at the conference that the US has been "deceiving and exploiting” Asia-Pacific nations to advance its own self interests to preserve "its dominant position.”

Meanwhile, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles met his Indonesian counterpart on Monday to deepen security ties amid China’s increasingly assertive activity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Subianto said he and Marles discussed ways to facilitate cooperation between their militaries.

"Cooperation between Indonesia and Australia can make an important contribution to regional peace and stability,” Subianto said, adding that the two governments agreed to further strengthen their security ties, including joint military training in Australia and the education of Indonesian cadets at Australian academies.

Military exchanges between the two neighbors have previously included counterterrorism and border protection.

Marles declined to make any comment to the media after meeting with Subianto. He vowed in a statement released by the Australian Embassy in Jakarta ahead of the talks to deepen defense engagement with Australia’s closest major neighbour.

"I look forward to progressing our comprehensive strategic partnership during my visit to Jakarta,” Marles said in the statement.

Although Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation of more than 270 million people, is often presented as one of Australia’s most important neighbors and strategic allies, the relationship has undergone various ups and downs.

Recent disagreements include allegations of wiretapping by the Australian Signals Directorate in 2013 to monitor the private phone calls of then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and other senior officials; Indonesia’s use of capital punishment on Australian drug smugglers; and cases of people smuggling.

 - AP

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