Indonesia, Japan vow to deepen military ties

January 15, 2017 10:30 pm

’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo after giving a statement to the media following their meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor on January 15, 2017. (AFP photo)

Leaders of Japan and Indonesia have vowed to beef up their military cooperation, especially in the sea, in an apparent bid to counter China’s increasing claims over disputed territories.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday during a visit to Indonesia that the two Island nations would bolster their cooperation in maritime security and military affairs.
“Japan will actively encourage cooperation on maritime security and encourage the development of the remote islands of Indonesia,” he said at the presidential palace in Bogor, adding that Japan and Indonesia gave maritime cooperation the “highest priority.”
Abe said the defense and foreign ministers of the two countries will meet this year to discuss deepening cooperation in those fields.
Japan and Indonesia have both been involved in a feud with China over maritime territory and waters around them. Tokyo has a long-running dispute with China over two uninhibited islands in the East China Sea. Jakarta has also objected to Beijing’s expansive claims over waters around the Natuna islands.
After meeting Abe, Indonesian President Joko Widodo also reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to cooperate with Japan on maritime security and military affairs. He also hailed Japan’s increasing investment in Indonesia’s infrastructure projects, saying it had nearly doubled from 2015 to almost USD five billion last year.
Japan has outpaced China in winning bids for Indonesia’s mega project, which includes the country’s largest coal-fired power plant and a mass rapid transit system for Jakarta. However, it was China that won a lucrative contract last year to build Indonesia’s first high-speed rail network.
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