Japan signs agreement to export defense equipment to Indonesia

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Japan and Indonesia on Tuesday signed an agreement to allow the export of Japanese-made defense equipment to the Southeast Asian country, as they try to step up cooperation amid growing claims of China in regional waters.

The agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology was signed after the foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Indonesia met in Tokyo for the so-called two plus two talks, during from which they also condemned the recent assassinations of peaceful demonstrators by military security in Burma.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (C, R) and Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto (C, L) sign an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology to Tokyo on March 30, 2021. The Minister Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi stands on the far right and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stands on the far left. (Pool photo) (Kyodo) == Kyodo

Ministers shared “serious concerns” about China’s “continued and escalated unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force” in the South and East China Seas, including the enactment of a new guard law. -Chinese coasts, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a joint press conference. press conference at the end of the talks.

The law, which came into effect in February, allows the Chinese coast guard to fire at ships entering what they consider its waters.

“The law must not infringe on legitimate rights and interests,” Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said at the press conference.

Japan is troubled by repeated intrusions by Chinese Coast Guard vessels into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

China claims the group of uninhabited islets, calling them Diaoyu.

Indonesia, meanwhile, faces tensions in its exclusive economic zone in waters north of the Natuna Islands with China, where Chinese fishing boats, accompanied by Chinese coastguard vessels, are believed to be involved in the strike. illegal fishing.

The EEZ straddles China’s self-proclaimed “nine dashes” line that marks its broad claims in the South China Sea, where it has disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Japan’s signing of the agreement with Indonesia follows similar defense agreements with Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines and the United States.

“I am convinced that the pact will form the basis for a further expansion of our bilateral security cooperation and will become a symbol of our joint efforts to deal with regional threats,” Motegi said.

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has said he calls on Japan to participate “in our defense industry and … in the modernization of Indonesia’s defense capability”.

During the talks, the second of their kind for the two countries since 2015, ministers also shared “strong concerns” about the crisis in Myanmar, where the military seized power in the February 1 coup, a Motegi said.

“Indonesia strongly denounces this kind of act,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, referring to the use of force by Burmese security forces on Saturday which killed more than 100 protesters during the day. bloodiest protest since the coup.

“This is unacceptable,” she also said. “For Indonesia, the safety and well-being of the people of Myanmar is paramount. Dialogue must be continued to bring democracy, peace and stability back to Myanmar.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (far right) and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi (2nd from right) hold security talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (at far left) and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto (2nd from left) in Tokyo on March 30, 2021. (Pool photo) (Kyodo)

Indonesia has led the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis, even though the bloc abides by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of members. Myanmar belongs to the group of 10 nations.

Indonesia called for an extraordinary ASEAN summit to discuss the Myanmar crisis.

The death toll resulting from the army’s violent campaign to quell unrest in Myanmar has reached at least 510, according to a rights group monitoring the situation.

Following North Korea’s launch of two ballistic missiles on Thursday, Japanese and Indonesian ministers agreed on the importance of strictly enforcing UN resolutions banning Pyongyang from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear technologies, Motegi said.

Japan will provide 50 billion yen ($ 453 million) in loans to help Indonesia respond to natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, Motegi said. Tokyo will also offer Fisheries Patrol Vessels to support Jakarta’s efforts to strengthen law enforcement at sea.


Associated coverage:

Japanese, Indonesian defense chiefs oppose China’s authoritarian measures

Attackers killed in church explosion in Indonesia linked to militant group



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