Indonesia, China set to boost military relations
Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/22/2010 1:14 PM | National
Indonesia on Friday offered China non-weapon military supplies and in return would consider buying Chinese-made missiles in a sign of improving ties between the two countries.
"We offered locally produced military uniforms, belts, berets, boots and many other military items and the Chinese have shown interest in the offer," Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro told a press conference on Friday after meeting with Chinese Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Gen. Guo Boxiong.
Apart from promoting supporting military apparel, Purnomo said, Indonesia also introduced its newest assault rifle, the SS-2.
China's 2.5 million-strong military is the largest in the world, Purnomo said. "It means a promising market for our supporting military equipment industry."
In return, he added, the ministry would consider purchasing Chinese-made C-802 guided missiles for the Indonesian Navy.
The C-802 is an upgrade to the C-705, which is still used by the Indonesian Navy.
Jakarta is hoping that China considers its offer to build the missiles in Indonesia and allow joint production to support Indonesia's intention to increase local components in its military industry.
Indonesian Deputy Defense Mi-nister Lt. Gen. Syafrie Syamsuddin, on a separate occasion, said the proposed arrangements should be viewed as a ramification of the consequences of the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) that has greatly benefited China, which has flooded ASEAN states with cheap consumer goods.
"The talks are for our mutual benefits," he said.
Initiated in 2002, the ACFTA, was implemented this year. Under the ACFTA, commodities from both China and the 10 ASEAN member countries are no longer subject to import duty.
Syafrie added that the meeting between Chinese and Indonesian military leaders showed that China had realized that Indonesia played a pivotal role in safeguarding regional stability.
As for the plan, he said, both countries would hammer out the details in the near future.
"We will meet again by the end of the year."
Syafrie said other items were also discussed Friday, including military personnel exchange and joint exercises to tackle terrorism and piracy.
University of Indonesia international relations expert Makmur Keliat said the visit by the Chinese top brass was an indication that Indonesia-China relations continued to improve.
"The cooperation plans for Indonesia to sell supporting military equipment and to buy Chinese-made weapons should be seen as a good start to improving bilateral relations," he told The Jakarta Post.
Under Soeharto, bilateral relations were strained as the Soeharto regime voiced suspicions that China supported communist movements in Indonesia.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
More on Sino- Indonesia military relations.
According to the May 20th 2010 update of Jane's Defense Weekly, Indonesia took delivery of the Chinese QW-3 Missiles and issued them to the 463rd Battalion of the Indonesia Air Force Special Force Corp. The order was signed in August 2009 in augment of other Chinese made missiles procured in the past few years.
Posted by Coatepeque at 8:05 PM