US pushes defense ties with Indonesia as China strengthens

Nov 21, 2022, 5:18 AM | Updated: 5:26 am
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, meets with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subia...

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, meets with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via AP)

(Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via AP)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin met his Indonesian counterpart on Monday to push stronger defense ties amid growing Chinese naval activity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Austin, at a joint news conference after meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, said they discussed ways to deepen the two countries’ partnership, including through expanding interoperability and increasing investments in defense education.

“The United States is proud to partner with you as we work together to advance our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Austin said.

But Subianto stressed Indonesia’s neutral stance.

“I like to emphasize that Indonesia always takes the position of trying to maintain the best relationships with all nations, especially all the major powers,” Subianto said.

Austin arrived in Jakarta late Sunday from a visit to Canada’s Halifax city where he spoke about U.S. efforts to build a more resilient security architecture with allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific and Europe at the Halifax International Security Forum.

His visit to Indonesia comes less than a week after leaders of the Group of 20 economies met on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. In a declaration, most strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and warned that the conflict is making an already delicate world economy worse.

“We are meeting as the world is grappling with assaults on the rules-based international order, especially Russia’s unprovoked invasion against Ukraine,” Austin said, “And it’s especially vital now that more like-minded countries come together to uphold our shared principles, including the rule of law.”

He applauded Indonesia for its vote at the U.N. General Assembly earlier this year condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

While Indonesia and China enjoy generally positive ties, Jakarta has expressed concern about Chinese encroachment on its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety.

Subianto said Indonesia sees China as a friendly nation, and the two countries have ways to manage possible misunderstandings and differences of opinion in disputes over territorial waters.

“We consider that we will be able to resolve them with dialogue,” Subianto said, “However, we do emphasize that Indonesia will defend its sovereignty and we will defend our independence.”

China and four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have overlapping claims to the South China Sea, home to vital shipping lanes, plentiful fish stocks and undersea mineral resources. China and ASEAN have made little headway in finalizing a code of conduct to avoid conflicts in the area.

Austin and Subianto are both attending an expanded meeting of ASEAN security ministers starting Tuesday in Cambodia.

Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe also is to attend, opening the possibility that he and Austin will hold face-to-face discussions.

Defense ministers from ASEAN and eight partner countries, including the U.S., Japan and China, are expected to join the two-day meeting.

While China’s influence and military strength in the region are growing rapidly, the U.S. remains its dominant military power. Washington also has a security alliance with the Philippines and strong relations with other ASEAN members.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris was expected to seek an expansion of the American military presence in the Philippines in a meeting Monday with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Mark Hager, left, positions a camera with the help of Anthony Lucia, right, as captain Al Cottone w...
Associated Press

Could trawler cams help save world’s dwindling fish stocks?

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — For years, Mark Hager’s job as an observer aboard New England fishing boats made him a marked man, seen as a meddling cop on the ocean, counting and scrutinizing every cod, haddock and flounder to help set crucial quotas. On one particularly perilous voyage, he was met on the dock at […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York, on Dec. 20, 2018. Embattled vaping ...
Associated Press

Juul reaches settlements covering more than 5,000 cases

Juul Labs has reached settlements covering more than 5,000 cases brought by about 10,000 plaintiffs related to its vaping products. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Juul said that it has secured an equity investment to fund it. Buffeted by lawsuits, Juul announced hundreds of layoffs last month and bankruptcy appeared increasingly […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Dec. 5 The Washington Post on microchips, the U.S. and the future When President Biden visits a microchip factory under construction in Arizona, it might look like a political victory lap: The factory will bring $12 billion and thousands of jobs to an important swing […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Local residents gather near a generator to charge their mobile devices in an area controlled...
Associated Press

Donors race to get generators, other aid to hard-hit Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — When Russian forces launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine nearly two months ago, they opened a front that carried the war along power lines, water mains and heating systems to homes, schools, offices and churches. The government in Kyiv and the Western countries that have backed it with billions […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Co-buying a house: How platonic partners make it work

Seven years ago, Phil Levin and his girlfriend, Kristen Berman, pondered a common question: Should we move in together? Levin assumed they’d take a predictable path and find a more affordable apartment outside of pricey San Francisco. But Berman, a behavioral scientist, shared her reservations about leaving their friend network – and some facts to […]
7 hours ago
FILE -  Visitors passing an advertisement for the video game 'Call of Duty' at the Gamescom fair fo...
Associated Press

Microsoft strikes 10-year deal with Nintendo on Call of Duty

LONDON (AP) — Microsoft said Wednesday that it struck a deal to make the hit video game Call of Duty available on Nintendo for 10 years when its $69 billion purchase of game maker Activision Blizzard goes through — an apparent attempt to fend off objections from rival Sony. The blockbuster merger is facing close […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
US pushes defense ties with Indonesia as China strengthens